n Africa Insight - ‘Land grabbing’ and the politics of evidence - the case of Senegal

Volume 46 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


The renewed interest in land, especially after the 2007-2008 global financial crises, has led to land being viewed as a new strategic asset. The drivers of this rush, sometimes referred to as ‘land grabs’, are contested, as are its actors and scale, creating a fierce debate between activists, academics and politicians. This battlefield of competing claims on methods and evidence sometimes espouse the blurred lines of ‘North’ and ‘South’. In this context, assessing the available literature is a difficult but critical step if the current knowledge-building efforts are to be sustained. This paper argues that what is known about ‘land grabs’ is the outcome of how it is known. To ascertain this, this paper firstly seeks to review the existing body of knowledge and then questions the politics of methods to understand why not much is known, using evidence from Senegal.

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