Analyzing protest and resistance against large-scale land acquisition: A Gender-perspective
The section “Analysing protest and resistance against large-scale land acquisition: A Gender-perspective” facilitated by Bettina Engels and Karol Balfe was divided twofold. First, key concepts of contestation, such as contentious politics, social movements, social movement organisations, protest, resistance and repertoires of contention, were introduced and discussed. In contrast to behavior, collective action is closely intertwined with intentionality, while politics are not only limited to state actors. Collective action as well as a certain degree of continuity (in contrast to riots) and contextual-based non-institutionalised tactics depict key features of social movements. The conceptual part was followed by a gender-focused group work on actors and strategies that play a key role within resistance or protest against large-scale land use changes. The second presentation was based on the peer learning experiences of Christian Aid-Ireland and local partners across the globe on resisting large scale land acquisitions.
Christian Aid’s Gender Justice Strategy empowers local communities, and particularly women, with regard to resistance against land dispossessions. Thus, analyzing power structures and dynamics is pivotal. Power analysis involves not just analyzing the types and forms of power such as the visible (tangible ones), hidden ones (like close door influences) and invisible one like cultures and ideology but also power as strong over weak; as the capability to decide and carry out actions; as well as power with a society as in collective action and solidarity available to affected persons.
Identifying the levels of and enhancing the capacity of large scale land acquisition affected persons’ resource, knowledge, positional and personal power would enable them devise strategies to protect, protest and resist the dispossession of their land. The study revealed that protests and resistances are contextual, risk laden, engendered and needs the solidarity and active support of civil society to succeed both in the short and long term.
A policy paper and a toolkit for empowering the poor to act against land dispossession were developed from the study with the support of Limeric University, Ireland.