ISS PhD researcher, Natalia Mamonova receives 2015 'Graduate School Award for PhD Excellence'

Graduate school award for PhD excellence

In the category 'The Best Article 2015'

ISS PhD researcher, Natalia Mamonova has received the 2015 'Graduate School Award for PhD Excellence' in the category 'The Best Article 2015' for her single-author article 'Resistance or adaptation? Ukrainian peasants’ responses to large-scale land acquisitions', published in the Journal of Peasant Studies, 42 (3-4): 607-634.

This article received high acclaim from the jury for its clear writing, methodological rigour and innovative outcomes.

The Journal of Peasant Studies is one of the best in the field of rural politics and development studies.

About the article

While globally it is reported that peasants are fighting against land grabbing, Ukrainian rural dwellers show tolerance and peaceful acceptance of land grab-related changes. This article analyses the ‘exceptional’ case of non-resistance of Ukrainian peasants and argues that it is not as exceptional as it seems at first glance.

By studying various rural responses to the large-scale agricultural development in Ukraine and the resulting socioeconomic transformations within rural communities, this research demonstrates that:

  1. the politics of dispossessed groups depend on the terms of inclusion in land deals;
  2. adaptive response strategies are common and can be advantageous for rural people; and
  3. peasants are more concerned with personal gains from land grabs than with benefits for the whole community, which often leads to their acceptance of large-scale land acquisitions.

This research challenges the dominant assumptions about rural resistance to land grabbing and calls for rethinking the nature of the contemporary peasants’ politics worldwide.