State spaces of resistance: industrial tree plantations and the struggle for land in Laos | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2018
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
handle:10568/92444
Pages: 
21
License of the resource: 

Land grabbing has transformed rural environments across the global South, generating resistance or political reactions “from below”. In authoritarian countries like Laos, where resource investments are coercively developed and insulated from political dissent, resistance appears absent at first glance. Yet, it is occurring under the radar, largely outside transnational activist networks. In this article, we examine how resistance can protect access to rural lands in contexts where it is heavily repressed. Resistance here occurs with, rather than against the state by foregrounding the contradictions of land use and ownership within state spaces, such as competing goals of large-scale industrial plantations versus smallholder agriculture and national forest conservation. Such contradictions are engaged by using historical, place-based political connections to exploit the scalar frictions of a fragmented state and occupying plantation clearance sites to highlight contested lands in situ. Nonetheless, such strategies remain spatially and socially uneven amongst the Lao peasantry.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Miles, K.-L.
Suhardiman, Diana
Dwyer, M.B.

Data provider

CGIAR (CGIAR)

CGIAR is the only worldwide partnership addressing agricultural research for development, whose work contributes to the global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and major nutrition imbalances, and environmental degradation.


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