This research was made possible by grants from the Land Deal Politics Initiative and the University of Oxford LEAD-ECI Climate Change Leadership and Action Network. The author would like to thank the Weidenfeld Scholarship and Leadership Programme, Dr Kamal Kapadia and Dr Michael Sheridan, and the anonymous referees.
Chinese Land-Based Interventions in Senegal
Article first published online: 15 MAR 2013
© 2013 International Institute of Social Studies
Development and Change
Special Issue: Governing the Global Land Grab: The Role of the State in the Rush for Land
Volume 44, Issue 2, pages 429–450, March 2013
How to Cite
Buckley, L. (2013), Chinese Land-Based Interventions in Senegal. Development and Change, 44: 429–450. doi: 10.1111/dech.12016
- Issue published online: 15 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 15 MAR 2013
As Chinese land-based interventions multiply across the African continent, this article focuses on a single Chinese–Senegalese government-run agriculture demonstration centre to provide insight into the daily realities of Chinese–African interactions on African land. Ethnographic methodologies are employed to examine practices and discourses on agricultural governance among Chinese and Senegalese informants. Building on theories of agriculture as performance, I show how distinct repertoires for land management are negotiated and reshaped by different subjects in a kind of improvised dance, where individuals’ improvisations lead to unanticipated project outcomes. What emerges is a picture of a Chinese agricultural management regime for African land that is simultaneously fraught with conflict, while also replete with collaboration benefiting some smallholder farmers. This actor-oriented approach provides a critical empirical lens as well as a research framework for engaging more constructively with Chinese in large-scale land acquisitions. I argue that ‘land grabbing’ must be seen not as a straightforward, linear process of state or corporate takeover of global land, but as a dynamic performance of negotiation among diverse state actors, corporate players and citizens — one that will reshape global development in unanticipated ways.