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Written Paper

Resistance or adaptation? Ukrainian peasants’ responses to large-scale land acquisitions  [2015]

Mamonova, Natalia

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While globally it is reported that peasants are fighting against land grabbing, Ukrainian rural dwellers show tolerance and peaceful acceptance of land grab-related changes. This paper analyses the ‘exceptional’ case of non-resistance of Ukrainian peasants and argues that it is not as exceptional as it seems at first glance. By studying various rural responses to the large-scale agricultural development in Ukraine and the resulting socio-economic transformations within rural communities, this research demonstrates that: the politics of dispossessed groups depend on the terms of inclusion in land deals; adaptive response strategies are common and can be advantageous for rural people; and peasants are more concerned with personal gains from land grabs than with benefits for the whole community, which often leads to their acceptance of large-scale land acquisitions. This research challenges the dominant assumptions about rural resistance to land grabbing and calls for rethinking the nature of the contemporary peasants’ politics worldwide.

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Journal of peasant studies

ISSN : 1743-9361