Coinciding with the 21st century rush to appropriate land, agrarian studies have increasingly examined land grabbing caused by the food-feed-fuel complex. While the research often focuses on dispossession of land, this thesis studies the various forms of dispossession due to the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations in Guatemala since the 1990s. Analyzing the lived experiences of people from oil palm-ridden areas in Guatemala, the thesis also examines the role of the state and of political power relations as essential in these land control grabs. Results show that while the oil palm expansion has mostly benefited local creoles or wealthy landowners, it has also brought about lack of access to different resources and even human rights violations. As the Guatemalan people experience domestic food shortages and an influx of foreign foodstuffs, precarious, low-paid work in the oil palm sector is only available for the few. The industry, on the other hand, chiefly serves the interests of wealthy locals and of international markets.
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Thesis advisor: Otero, Gerardo
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