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Philip McMichael - "Historicizing the Land Grab: The Unfolding, and Unraveling, of the Global Food Regime"

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 4:45pm

165 McGraw Hall, Cornell University

PHILIP MCMICHAEL (International Professor & Chair, Development Sociology, Cornell University)

This lecture historicizes the current land grab through the lens of governance mechanisms overriding the WTO trade rules architecture of the late-20th century food regime. Emergent principles and partnerships of a restructuring food regime justify an intensifying commodification of land, labor and ecosystems, portending a final enclosure via a 'rational' planning of planetary resources in a quest for security. Such neoliberal mechanisms promote private power through public authority, reformulating the state system as an instrument of privatization and redefinition of land and territory in the face of growing counter-movements for food and land sovereignty.

Trained as a historical sociologist, Professor McMichael’s research examines capitalist modernity through the lens of agrarian questions, food regimes, agrarian/food sovereignty movements. This work centers the role of agri-food systems in the making of the modern world. He has worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - most recently as a member of its Civil Society Mechanism, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, and the international peasant coalition, La Vía Campesina. He has authored Settlers and the Agrarian Question(1984), Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective(2012), and Food Regimes and Agrarian Questions (2013), and recently edited Contesting Development: Critical Struggles for Social Change (2010). 

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