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Waves of Dispossession

The Conversion of Land and Labor in Bali’s Recent History

Anette Fagertun

alternative forms of production, and has changed property relations. These mechanisms of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ have created new class relations and (re)produced difference. This article discusses the problem of land in Bali within its historical

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Urban tourism via dispossession of oeuvres

Labor as a common denominator

Marc Morell

accumulation by dispossession” by which the expanded reproduction of capital (the commodity market, the exploitation of waged labor, etc.) is connected to activities based on fraud, predation, plunder (2003: 137–182). Even Wolf’s differentiation thesis in which

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Mineral springs, primitive accumulation, and the “new water” in Mexico

Casey Walsh

English abstract: This article explores the process of centralization of water resources by the Mexican nation-state between 1880 and 1940, and, in particular, how the postrevolutionary state facilitated, after 1920, the transference of control over the Topo Chico mineral springs from the local agrarian community to industrial bottling companies. Using archival evidence, it highlights the importance of science and law in this process and argues that centralization must be understood in terms of “primitive accumulation.” The article focuses on hot mineral springs, which provide a privileged window on centralization and primitive accumulation but are largely ignored in the historiography of water.

Spanish abstract: El artículo explora el proceso de centralización de los recursos hídricos por parte del Estado Mexicano entre 1880–1940, y particularmente analiza la manera en que después de 1920 el estado posrevolucionario facilitó la transferencia del control de las comunidades agrarias locales de los manantiales de Topo Chico, a las empresas embotelladoras industriales. Utilizando fuentes de archivo, el autor evidencia la importancia de la ciencia y el derecho en este proceso, y muestra que la centralización debe entenderse con base en la “acumulación primitiva”. Este artículo se centra en el estudio de las fuentes minerales termales, las cuales a pesar de ser una ventana privilegiada para la centralización y la acumulación primitiva, han sido ampliamente ignoradas por la historiografía hídrica.

French abstract: Cet article explore le processus de centralisation des ressources hydriques par l'Etat-nation mexicain entre 1880 et 1940, et en particulier la façon dont l'Etat postrévolutionnaire a facilité, à partir de 1920, le transfert du contrôle des sources hydriques de Topo Chico des communautés agraires locales aux entreprises d'embouteillage industriels. Fondé sur les sources documentaires archivistiques, il souligne l'importance de la science et du droit dans ce processus, et fait valoir que la centralisation doit être comprise en termes «d'accumulation primitive». L'article se concentre sur les sources d'eaux minérales chaudes, qui fournissent une fenêtre privilégiée sur la centralisation et l'accumulation primitive, mais sont largement ignorées dans l'historiographie de l'eau.

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Downgraded by Upgrading

Small-scale Traders, Urban Transformation and Spatial Reconfiguration in Post-reform Vietnam

Kirsten W. Endres

This article examines some of the ruptures and contestations that have emerged in the context of urban restructuring and market redevelopment policies in Hanoi, Vietnam. Public markets have become sites of contestation and struggle over the commoditization and use of public urban space: large plots of state-owned real estate in the inner city are handed over to private investment companies for development, in the process of which small-scale traders are losing their means of economic survival in the marketplace. These forms of accumulation by dispossession likewise reflect processes of social and spatial reconfiguration that exclude the urban poor and other 'uncivilized' subjects from public visibility by creating up-scaled spaces of lifestyle and consumption for the newly emerging classes of high-end consumers. Such processes of dispossession are gendered and impact on different kinds of traders in different ways.

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Blood oil

The anatomy of a petro-insurgency in the Niger delta

Michael Watts

This article traces the emergence of an “oil insurgency” in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. A key concept deployed in the analysis is the oil complex, understood as a sort of corporate enclave economy and also a center of political and economic calculation expressed through the operations of a set of local, national, and transnational forces that can only be dubbed as imperial oil. The operations of the oil complex under conditions of U.S. military neoliberalism create the violent and unstable spaces that David Harvey identifies as “accumulation by dispossession”. The insurgency is understood in terms of a deep history of political and economic marginalization and deepening political mobilization and militancy within the Niger Delta. What the oil complex has thereby produced is a fragmented polity with parcellized sovereignty rather than a robust, modern oil nation.

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The meaning of Nandigram

Corporate land invasion, people's power, and the Left in India

Tanika Sarkar and Sumit Chowdhury

This article discusses the events at Nandigram in West Bengal where in 2006-7, a Left Front government collaborated with an Indonesian corporate group to forcibly acquire land from local peasants and construct a Special Economic Zone. The events are placed against the broad processes of accumulation by dispossession through which peasants are losing their land and corporate profits are given priority over food production. The article looks at the working and implications of the policies and the way in which a Communist Party-led government had become complicit with such processes over the last decade. It critically examines the logic that the government offered for the policies: that of the unavoidable necessity of industrialization, demonstrating that industrialization could have been done without fresh and massive land loss and that industries of the new sort do not generate employment or offset the consequences of large scale displacements of peasants. The article's central focus is on the peasant resistance in the face of the brutalities of the party cadres and the police. We explore the meaning of the victory of the peasants at Nandigram against the combined forces of state and corporate power, especially in the context of the present neo-liberal conjuncture.

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What do we see if we look at the border from the other side?

Shahram Khosravi

We live in a time of wall fetishism. Never have human beings been so obsessed with building walls as they are today. Walls are, however, age‐old. Empires built walls. And if we look closer, we can see that there are still traces of the old imperial visions in the modern borders and border walls. In this essay I will look at the connections of wars and walls, walls and empires. Through a radical historicisation I will argue that there is a link between the installation of border walls (here) and the unsettling of communities (there). The current border regime is part of a larger and older project of colonial accumulation by dispossession and expulsion; stealing wealth, labour force and time. I will also argue that border crossing discloses the cracks in the dominant narration of borders and that travellers without papers denaturalise what are otherwise naturalised borders, and politicise what are otherwise depoliticised borders. I will illustrate this argument by following travellers without papers along the railways in the Balkans; tracing Afghan deportees in Kabul; and following the social life of the materialities used in the oil sites in Iran and in the wall between Mexico and the USA.

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Enawene‐nawe ‘potlatch against the state’

Chloe Nahum‐Claudel

The Enawene are sustained by the Juruena river in central Brazil, where multiple hydroelectric dams are under construction and in planning. The Enawene are fishermen whose highly ritualised economic life centres on feeding the demonic owners of hydraulic resources. In this paper, Nahum‐Claudel takes us through tense negotiations between the Enawene and the para‐state hydroelectric company, observing the former's adroit diplomacy as they repeatedly negotiate ‘wins’ of ever‐larger hand‐outs (motors, boats, petrol, money and even fish) in the lead up to what the company hopes will be a final compensation pay‐out. In the era of hydroelectric ‘accumulation by dispossession’ (Harvey D. 2005. Oxford: Oxford University Press), the Enawene enrol the state in paying the debt to the demon‐owners, becoming – in a perspectival twist – themselves akin to these demons, engaged in an inflationary ‘potlatch against the state’. Diplomatic relations across this frontier are particular to the Enawene ritual economy, to the very recent onset of their relations with the state, and to the speed of resource capture in this region. Given the massive expansion of hydroelectric generation in Brazil, a nation currently achieving vastly accelerated growth, the analysis is likely to be of broader salience.

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Stratifying academia

Ranking, oligarchy and the market‐myth in academic audit regimes

John Welsh

This historical materialist analysis places rankings into the imperatives both to govern and to accumulate, and positions academic ranking in particular as the telos of a more general audit culture. By identifying how rankings effect not merely a quantification of qualities, but a numeration of quantities, we can expose how state governments, managerial strata and political elites achieve socially stratifying political objectives that actually frustrate the kind of market‐rule for which rankings have been hitherto legitimised among the public. The insight here is that rankings make of audit techniques neither simply a market proxy, nor merely the basis for bureaucratic managerialism, but a social technology or ‘apparatus’ () that simultaneously substitutes and frustrates market operations in favour of a more acutely stratified social order. This quality to the operation of rankings can then be connected to the chronic accumulation crisis that is the neoliberal regime of political economy, and to the growing political appetite therein for power‐knowledge techniques propitious for oligarchy formation and accumulation‐by‐dispossession in the kind of low‐growth and zero‐sum environment typical in real terms to societies dominated by financialisation. A dialectical approach to rankings is suggested, so that a more effective engagement with their internal and practical contradictions can be realised in a way that belies the market‐myths of neoliberal theory.

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After dispossession

Ethnographic approaches to neoliberalization

Oscar Salemink and Mattias Borg Rasmussen

. However, with the imposition of commoditized forms and financial values in all spheres of life, accumulation is no longer exclusively associated with capitalist production as accumulation by dispossession takes place beyond capitalist production itself