Land Deals, Labour and Everyday Politics

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Adwoa Yeboah Gyapong

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: Land deal; Land grab; Oil Palm; Labour; Farmworkers; Plantation; Everyday politics

This study presents empirical evidence on the nature of the political struggles for inclusion on an oil palm land deal in Ghana. It examines the employment dynamics and the everyday politics of workers on an oil palm plantation in a predominantly migrant and settler society of the north-eastern part of Ghana, where large-scale production has only been introduced within the past decade. It shows that by the nature of labour organization, as well as other structural issues, workers do not benefit equally from the land deals and therefore express everyday forms of resistance against exploitation, and for better terms of incorporation. Particularly, they express agency through absenteeism and non-compliance, which especially enables them to maintain their basic food sovereignty/security. Nonetheless, these everyday politics is not necessarily liberating in confronting the everyday peasant problems and unfavourable agrarian transitions associated with capitalist agriculture. Overall, this paper contributes to the land grab literature by providing context-specific dynamics of impacts and politics and how are they are shaped by a multiplicity of factors- beyond class.

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