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Title: Food sovereignty and the Via Campesina in Mexico and Ecuador : class dynamics, struggles for autonomy and the politics of resistance
Author: Henderson, Thomas Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 4354
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis analyses the class dynamics, politics, and ideology of food sovereignty in Mexico and Ecuador. It argues that engagement with class dynamics within the Via Campesina, the world's preeminent transnational agrarian movement struggling for food sovereignty, is essential for the construction of 'unity in diversity' necessary to challenge the neoliberal food regime. It interrogates the claim made by the movement and its proponents of a 'unified people of the land' to show that the food sovereignty project currently underrepresents rural labour and producers of cash crops. It also shows that struggles of the landed peasantry for autonomy from and within the market can successfully resist the accelerated forces of proletarianisation, dispossession and immiseration that characterise much of the rural South in the neoliberal era. Autonomous struggles are the foundation of peasant production and reproduction strategies in Mexico and Ecuador today and are the basis from which food sovereignty's productive, political and ideological alternatives to neoliberalism must be developed. However, state-peasant movement relations are central to the construction of counter-hegemony. So too are peasant organisations' internal structures, their modes of representation between leaders and bases, and alliance building and conflict with other subaltern groups. These factors are critical in determining whether, and to what extent, the food sovereignty movement is able to transform neoliberal food and agricultural policies in favour of sustainable, small-scale peasant production guided by concerns for social and environmental justice rather than those of capital accumulation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral