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FRIPRO-Fri prosjektstøtte

The law of the land. A legal study of land concentration, violence and racism in the Andes

Alternative title: Landets lov. En juridisk studie av land konsentrasjon, vold og rasisme i Andesregionen

Awarded: NOK 3.9 mill.

Project Number:


Project Period:

2021 - 2024

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Partner countries:

The «Law of the Land» studies how the Constitutions of Andean States (Peru, Colombia and Chile) have legally created and sustained a social market economy based on agribusiness and its consequences such as land concentration, displacement, violence, and racism. To date, agribusiness as an ideal model of development is highly contested in the Andes. Also, Andean states undergo constitutional reform processes or face constitutional change demands to transform the economic model based on agro-exports and promote land reform. The «Law of the Land» uses Marxist constitutional theory, transnational law, and international law to explore the overall research questions: To what extent do the Andean constitutions support models of agribusiness that create land accumulation in Peru, Colombia, and Chile? To what extent does the constitutional law of agribusiness interfere with the right to property of peasants and policy goals such as eradication of poverty, peace, and non-discrimination? These questions and theoretical framework will: 1. provide a comparative analysis of the similarities and differences concerning the relationship between law and land accumulation in Peru, Colombia and Chile. 2. build a new methodological approach to the study of Andean constitutional law from a transnational and international perspective that places the former as part of a larger legal project of global economic accumulation. 3. provide analysis on whether and how the Andean States benefit from legalizing or creating the phenomenon of land accumulation for agribusiness. 4. enhance debates on the need to reform the national legal frameworks -including Andean Constitutions- concerning the economic model, property rights and agribusiness. 5. Imagine better legal law and land policy strategies that contribute to SDG1 SDG8, SDG10, and SDG16.

The Andean States promote agribusiness as an economic activity that facilitates the export of local production and enhances sustainable development. The growth of agribusiness in the Andes has taken place under a constitutional legal framework that enables free-market policies, property protection as a fundamental right, and adopting free trade agreements and bilateral investment agreements. However, social studies and human rights activists highlight that agribusiness in the Andes creates land accumulation that benefits local elites and transnational capital. It is also argued that large-scale agriculture reproduces relations of dispossession, racism, and armed conflict violence. Yet, these approaches do not address an in-depth analysis of the relationship between land accumulation, the role of the State and the law. My project aims to study land accumulation for agribusiness and the social relations emerging from it as the product of transnational constitutional law enhanced by the Andean States. I propose analyzing whether and how the material economic constitutional framework -international law, formal constitutional law, soft law- shapes and facilitate land accumulation, inequality, and violence in the context of agro-exports markets. The project will develop and test a theoretical framework that explains the co-constitutive relation the law and the political economy of accumulation in the Andes. Equally, through a comparative case study, the project will provide specific analysis of the similarities and differences concerning the relationship between law and land accumulation in Peru, Colombia and Chile. The project outcomes will help expose the assumptions and contradictions of the idea that human rights, sustainability, and constitutional law perspectives can be effective limits to the economic model of agro-exports. As a final goal, the project engages with the idea that law should meet the demands of equality, peace, and sustainability from the ground.

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FRIPRO-Fri prosjektstøtte

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