Promised Land: Competing Visions of Agrarian Reform

Michael Courville, Peter Rosset and Raj Patel | 11.01.2006

Edited by Peter Rosset, Raj Patel and Michael Courville, With a Foreword by Carmen Diana Deere


Agrarian reform is back at the center of the national and rural development debate, a debate of vital importance to the future of the Global South and genuine economic democracy. The World Bank as well as a number of national governments and local land owning elites have weighed in with a series of controversial policy changes. In response, peasants landless, and indigenous peoples’ organizations around the world have intensified their struggle to redistribute land from the underutilized holdings of a wealthy few to the productive hands of the many.

The essays in this volume, edited by scholars from the Land Research Action Network (LRAN), critically analyze a wide range of competing visions of land reform. Promised Land is an essential resource for academics, students, policy makers, activists, and peasant organizations.

Paperback, ISBN 0935028285

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About the Editors

Peter M. Rosset is a researcher at the Center for the Study of Rural Change in Mexico (CECCAM) where he is co-coordinator of the Land Research Action Network. He is also an associate of the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA), and visiting scholar at the University of California, both in Berkeley. He is the former executive director and co-director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) in Oakland, California. Peter is author of Food Is Different: Why we must get the WTO out of Agriculture.

Raj Patel is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, and is author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System (Portobello Books and HarperCollins, 2007).

Michael Courville is an independent writer and researcher in political economy. His work explores the limits of national development and the impact of those limits on resource distribution and human well being. He holds both an MA in International and Area Studies and a master’s in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley.

Praise for Promised Land

“A pathbreaking volume that provides a compelling critique of the current market-led reforms promoted by the likes of the World Bank…. This is a state-of-the-art analysis coupled with a rich and sophisticated account of on-the-ground experiences and struggles. A tour de force.”

–Michael Watts, Class of ’63 Professor, and director of African Studies, University of California, Berkeley

“Written from the perspective of civil society actors themselves, [Promised Land] is a powerful argument for the need to develop food sovereignty, strengthen local communities, and build transnational connections in the fight against inequality, poverty, and rural violence.”

–Wendy Wolford, co-author of To Inherit the Earth: The Landless Movement and the Struggle for a New Brazil

“This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand and contribute to the contemporary struggle for agrarian reform around the world.”

–Rafael Alegría, coordinator, Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform, La Vía Campesina

Download the Table of Contents.

Download the Preface.

Download the Foreword by Carmen Diana Deere.

Download the Introduction by Michael Courville and Raj Patel, “The Resurgence of Agrarian Reform in the Twenty-First Century”

Click here for instructions on requesting a review, desk or course adoption copy of this book.