Maiyo, J.

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Promo Master Anthropology



Political economy of development
• Governance, democratization and decentralization
• Migration and development
• China-Africa relations
Region: Africa; Eastern Africa, Kenya, Uganda

Transnational Land Deals, Agrarian Modernization and Land Governance in Central Uganda

In the last decade, accelerated transnational acquisitions of large tracts of arable farmland in Africa has received considerable global interest. This phenomenon has largely been understood in the context of macro-level international political economy emphasizing the role of global drivers while portraying local dynamics as ‘responses from below’. To a large extent, the agency of local actors and the complexity of contextual determinants has been understudied or misrepresented. Transnational ‘land grabbing’ has coincided with the resurgence of ideologies and practices of agrarian modernization and the role of agriculture in development. How do different stakeholders appropriate these discourses, position themselves in new networks of power and how do resulting practices shape access regimes to land and affect land governance in the rural countryside?

Drawing on case studies of four foreign owned farms in one district in central Uganda, I use the interactionist approach to explore the agency of different categories of stakeholders to deploy overlapping discourses of legitimation and form multi-level networks to facilitate access to land often subverting existing state structures and land governance institutions. While regulations for land administration is clearly provided for, the practice of land governance at the local level is often messy and the entry of transnational actors reconfigure power relations and significantly alter access regimes in local settings. This research seeks to demonstrate with empirical examples that macro-level analyses of the agency of resource-rich, but land-poor states or transnational capital in driving foreign land deals in Africa tend to obscure, rather than clarify our understanding of often complex land access dynamics and their effects on agrarian change and notions of development at the local level.


Publications (Source: VU METIS)


Maiyo, J. (2010) ‘Political parties and intra-party democracy in East Africa: Considerations for democratic consolidation’, in Mirjam de Bruijn & Daniela Merolla (eds) Researching Africa: Explorations of everyday African encounters, African Studies Collection, Vol. 26, Leiden, African Studies Centre pp. 31-55.

Maiyo, J. (2010) Political Parties and Democratic Consolidation in East Africa, Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrücken.

Maiyo, J. (2010) Justice in Conflict: The Suitability of International Justice in Conflict Resolution - The International Criminal Court in Northern Uganda, LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, Saarbrücken.

Maiyo, J. et al. (2009) Health Hope and Home? The possibilities and constraints of voluntary return for African rejected asylum seekers and irregular migrants living with HIV in the Netherlands, International Organization for Migration (IOM), The Hague.