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Ince, Onur Ulas (2014) 'Primitive Accumulation, the New Enclosures, and Global Land Grabs: A Theoretical Intervention.' Rural Sociology, 79 (1).

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Recent critical analyses of global land grabs have variously invoked global capitalism and neocolonialism to account for this trend. One line of inquiry approaches land grabs as instances of “primitive accumulation of capital” whereby lands in the Global South are “enclosed” and brought within the ambit of global capitalism. Another perspective invokes the history of Anglo-American colonialism for critiquing the developmentalist discourse that depicts Africa as the “last frontier” to be tamed by the techno-industrial civilization of the North. This essay integrates these two perspectives by elaborating capitalism as an irreducibly colonial formation with global inceptions. I begin with a discussion of “primitive accumulation” and, counter to many, question the suitability of “enclosure” for interpreting land grabs. The second section delves into the theoretical origins of primitive accumulation, proposing to situate it in a global and colonial genealogy of capitalism. A final section charts the theoretical and historical contours of this global genealogy and arrives at a more capacious reconceptualization of primitive accumulation. I conclude by reflecting on the implications of contemporary land grabs for in situ displacement, the fungibility of land, and new enclosures in the contemporary reconfiguration of global value chains.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 00360112
Copyright Statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article published in Rural Sociology, 79 (1), 2014. which has been published by Wiley in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2022 18:33

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