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Gaining land and gaining ground? The Popular Agrarian Reform by the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil

Da Cunha Almeida Azevedo, Camila LU (2015) MIDM19 20151
LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management
Abstract
The Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), one of the most important movements in Brazil, known for its land occupations, recently launched proposals to implement a new Popular Agrarian Reform (PAR) project. Consequently, one must ask: is there need for agrarian reform (AR) in Brazil? This question must engage with another discussion, that of the development of capitalism in the countryside and its consequences for the peasantry - the agrarian question (AQ). Its contemporary relevance is a matter of debate, and agrarian populism has gained traction in academic and popular discourse. PAR must be situated within these debates, as a response to processes of agrarian change. The aim of this qualitative case study was to understand how MST... (More)
The Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), one of the most important movements in Brazil, known for its land occupations, recently launched proposals to implement a new Popular Agrarian Reform (PAR) project. Consequently, one must ask: is there need for agrarian reform (AR) in Brazil? This question must engage with another discussion, that of the development of capitalism in the countryside and its consequences for the peasantry - the agrarian question (AQ). Its contemporary relevance is a matter of debate, and agrarian populism has gained traction in academic and popular discourse. PAR must be situated within these debates, as a response to processes of agrarian change. The aim of this qualitative case study was to understand how MST reads the AQ and constructs such response. Fieldwork was conducted in Southern Brazil in January-February 2015. Findings indicate that PAR reflects the understanding of a new AQ by MST. I argue that PAR was partly born due to an MST dilemma: frustration regarding possibilities of redistributive AR; de-legitimization of previous land occupation claims; MST’s de-territorialization in settlements/camps and settlements’ individual character. PAR must be understood as a dispute of material and symbolic territories, a strategy to conquer land, keep it and gain ground. (Less)
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@misc{5410138,
  abstract     = {The Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), one of the most important movements in Brazil, known for its land occupations, recently launched proposals to implement a new Popular Agrarian Reform (PAR) project. Consequently, one must ask: is there need for agrarian reform (AR) in Brazil? This question must engage with another discussion, that of the development of capitalism in the countryside and its consequences for the peasantry - the agrarian question (AQ). Its contemporary relevance is a matter of debate, and agrarian populism has gained traction in academic and popular discourse. PAR must be situated within these debates, as a response to processes of agrarian change. The aim of this qualitative case study was to understand how MST reads the AQ and constructs such response. Fieldwork was conducted in Southern Brazil in January-February 2015. Findings indicate that PAR reflects the understanding of a new AQ by MST. I argue that PAR was partly born due to an MST dilemma: frustration regarding possibilities of redistributive AR; de-legitimization of previous land occupation claims; MST’s de-territorialization in settlements/camps and settlements’ individual character. PAR must be understood as a dispute of material and symbolic territories, a strategy to conquer land, keep it and gain ground.},
  author       = {Da Cunha Almeida Azevedo, Camila},
  keyword      = {agrarian question,agrarian reform,agrarian change,rural development,peasant movements,agrarian social movements,rural politics,territorial disputes,social conflict,land struggle,land occupation,MST,Brazil,Paraná,social change,agroecology,thematic analysis},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Gaining land and gaining ground? The Popular Agrarian Reform by the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil},
  year         = {2015},
}