The agrarian question in the Nicaraguan countryside: exploring current development pathways
10 October 2013
Universiteit Antwerpen, Stadscampus, Building S - Nile Room 1st floor - Lange Sint Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerpen
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Organization / co-organization:
Seminar by IOB PhD student Pierre Merlet (Nicaragua)
What is the role of agriculture and farmers within societies? How has agriculture shaped (and how is it shaped by) development pathways in rural territories? What kind of agriculture (and what kind of farmers) is needed (and for what purpose)?
These issues are all related with the debate around the ‘agrarian question’ introduced initially at the end of the XIXth century by scholars from the political economy school. The way to deal with this ‘agrarian question’ has evolved in the past century. Indeed, scholars have identified several key dimensions within the agrarian question (e.g. issues of gender, environment, migration or labour) and the analysis that each of them undertake often bring quite different answers and interpretations, and as a result different, and sometimes opposite, policy recommendations. However what remains unquestioned is that dealing with issues related with the ‘agrarian question’ is crucial within development studies.
This seminar will bring some elements to analyze the agrarian question in Nicaragua on the basis of a research process implemented in three small agrarian regions of the country. In each of these regions agrarian diagnosis have been realized in order to analyze the historical evolution of agrarian structures (i.e. the main agrarian development pathways) and how this evolution has been shaped by specific/local biophysical conditions, historical conditions and social relations but also by broader factors such as international/national markets and value chains, policies, environmental concerns and others. Moreover, the diagnosis also give data on the technical and economic results of different agrarian production systems within these regions which allows for a broader discussion about the relations between agriculture and development.
The objective of this seminar will be to initiate a debate around these preliminary results in order to obtain feedbacks and insights for the design of the next stage of the research process, especially with respect to the necessity of re-defining the way to deal with the agrarian question in the Nicaraguan context.
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