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This Land is Ours Now: Social Mobilization and the Meanings of Land in Brazil, Wendy Wolford, Durham, NC.: Duke University Press, 2010

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AbstractIn this review, I highlight the valuable contributions of Wendy Wolford’s latest book, which rest on her extensive understanding of the diversity of the Brazilian countryside and her acute ability to weave together the impact that land-tenure patterns, labour regimes and regional cultures have had upon settlers of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement. It also assesses the central claim of the book which suggests that the MST is often unable to retain its membership because the leadership reproduces an understanding of peasant agriculture that is specific to the South of Brazil. The review argues that Wolford’s main argument falls foul of four shortcomings related to her methodology, her understanding of the MST’s ideology, her choice of not including the process of encampment and the MST’s commitment to radical social change in her analysis, and finally her problematic interpretation of the relationship between the grassroots membership and the leadership of the movement.

Affiliations: 1: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of


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1. Cadji Anne-Laure "‘Brazil’s Landless Find Their Voice’" Nacla Report on the Americas 2000 Vol 33 5 30 35
2. Fernandes Bernardo Mançano Moyo Sam , Yeros Paris "‘The Occupation as a Form of Access to Land in Brazil: A Theoretical and Methodological Contribution’" Reclaiming the Land: The Resurgence of Rural Movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America 2005 London Zed Books
3. Medeiros Leonilde , Barbosa Maria Valeria , Franco Mariana Pontoja , Esterci Neide , Leite Sergio Assentamentos Rurais: Uma Visão Multidisciplinar 1994 São Paulo UNESP
4. Vergara-Camus Leandro "‘The Politics of the MST: Autonomous Rural Communities, the State, and Electoral Politics’" Latin American Perspectives 2009 Vol 36 4 178 191
5. Wolford Wendy "‘Families, Fields, and Fighting for Land: the Spatial Dynamics of Contention in Rural Brazil’" Mobilization: An International Journal 2003a Vol 8 2 201 215
6. Wolford Wendy "‘Producing Community: The MST and Land Reform Settlements in Brazil’" Journal of Agrarian Change 2003b Vol 3 4 500 520
7. Wolford Wendy "‘Agrarian Moral Economies and Neoliberalism in Brazil: Competing World-Views and the State in the Struggle for Land’" Environment and Planning 2005 Vol 37 2 241 261

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