Agrarian change and political ecology
Ending extreme poverty and hunger requires a transformation of agricultural production systems and the linkages between agriculture and the rest of the economy. While migration and urban development are important, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved without major agrarian change.
Three acute cotemporary challenges include:
- Competition for water between different forms of agricultural production, industry, hydropower and urban consumers. This is exacerbated by the uncertainty created by climate change and often involves competition across national borders.
- Agriculture is a major source of pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, yet it’s highly vulnerable to processes of climate change. Conversely, it’s potentially also as part of the solution—as a source of biofuels, increased food production and carbon sequestration.
- The feasibility (and environmental desirability) of mass industrialisation across the Global South raises major questions regarding the role of the agricultural sector and its labour force within the economy and future patterns of structural transformation.
How we are addressing it:
Our research is on focused on three main areas:
- Systems of resource governance (land, water and forests), focusing on the political implications of state, neo-customary and alternative governance models and the political economy drivers of institutional change.
- Agricultural production systems, including alternative production systems, cooperatives and agricultural production within value chains, in relation to environmental and social sustainability and the implications for workers’ rights.
- The growing use of ICT in agricultural production and marketing systems and the implications this has for productivity and equality.
The FutureDAMS consortium is working to improve the design, selection and operation of dams to support sustainable development.
This research project, funded by ESRC–DFID, brings together a team of social science researchers and irrigation scientists from the UK, Europe and Africa.
This project looked at how new and competing ways of valuing social and environmental harm and care present both challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing world.
Tomas Frederiksen's research into global governance and development impacts of the extractive sector in Africa.
Our teaching agenda:
Our master’s course on Environment, Climate Change and Development links environmental understanding grounded in the physical sciences with study of the social and economic bases of planning and managing development.
People and publications:
- Prof Bina Agarwal - Professor, Development Economics and Environment
- Dr Admos Chimhowu - Senior Lecturer
- Dr Ralitza Dimova - Senior Lecturer, Development Economics
- Dr Richard Duncombe - Lecturer, Information Systems and Development
- Dr Tomas Frederiksen - Lecturer, International Development
- Prof David Hulme - Professor, Development Studies
- Dr Judith Krauss - Lecturer in Environment and Climate Change
- Dr Tom Lavers -Lecturer, Politics, Governance and Management
- Prof Philip Woodhouse - Professor, Environment and Development