I am a Philipp Schwartz-Initiative Fellow at Leipzig University Institute of Anthropology. Currently, I am trying to develop a research agenda titled “Contentious Spaces of Agriculture and Food: Spatialization Processes of Food Sovereignty in the Global South”. Informed by social theory, development studies, and critical agrifood studies, my research interests are in the areas of agrifood socio-ecological movements, food sovereignty, food regime analysis, and agrarian/peasant questions. I hold a Ph.D. (December 2018) and M.Sc. in Sociology from Middle East Technical University (METU, Ankara Turkey). I was a visiting researcher at the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University in 2014-2015.
The Post-Developmentalist Turn and the Impasse of the Contemporary Agrarian/Peasant Question Debate
This paper aims to analyze, in theoretical terms, the agrarian/peasant question debate that has been reinvigorated since the 2000s on the grounds of the neoliberal globalization processes and the growing oppositions to the capitalist agrifood system at the grassroots level. It claims that this renewed interest in the agrarian/peasant question debate has been shaped predominantly by the critiques of the concept of development mainly on the theoretical grounds provided by post-developmentalism in association with the post- turn in the trajectory of social theory in general. In this regard, it can be argued that the contemporary agrarian/peasant question literature is characterized by a post-developmentalist turn, the unifying and central claim of which can be pointed out as the conceptualization of peasantry as a political subject against the modern/capitalist/industrialist model of agriculture. This turn – which can be traced in various approaches like neo-Chayanovian formulations, food regime analysis, agroecology, food sovereignty, etc. – has, arguably, led to a divide in the literature between Marxism-based agrarian political-economy and the post- developmentalist reformulations. By analyzing this divide in terms of theoretical assumptions, methodological str ategies, major problematics, and political propositions; this paper argues that what we are facing with can also be seen as the impasse of the contemporary agrarian/peasant question literature with respect to the analyses of and struggles against capitalist agrifood relations.
Affiliation: Leipzig University, Germany