Kenney-Lazar Miles Richard
Position: Affiliated Assistant Professor
MAIL: mklazar [at] cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp
・Governing Land Grabbing in Southeast Asia
Governing Land Grabbing in Southeast Asia
This research project investigates the phenomenon of global land grabbing and how it is expressed across Southeast Asia. Coercive, non-transparent, and unjust land investments are leading to negative social and environmental impacts across Southeast Asia. Farmers have been dispossessed of their lands and livelihoods, forests have been cleared, and rural environments have been polluted as a result of land investments, especially for developing agro-industrial plantations and special economic zones. This project examines how the social and environmental impacts of land investments authoritarian countries of Southeast Asia are governed. It focuses in particular on the frontier economies of Laos and Myanmar (Burma), which have liberalized economically, opening to foreign investment in land and natural resources, yet have retained authoritarian political structures that repress democratic dissent, albeit in different ways in each country. In both countries, industrial plantations have been developed in a top-down manner since the 1990s, generating deforestation and the displacement of smallholder farmers from their lands. The study aims to generate a concrete understanding of the relations between the governing systems of authoritarian countries under political-economic transition and local-level agrarian and environmental transformations, with applications to other countries in Southeast Asia and the developing world.