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The quest to bring land under social and political control: land reform struggles of the past and present in Ecuador


  • Goodwin, Geoff


Land reform was one of the most important policies introduced in Latin America in the twentieth century and remains high on the political agenda due to sustained pressure from rural social movements. Improving our understanding of the issue therefore remains a pressing concern. This paper responds to this need by proposing a new theoretical framework to explore land reform and providing a fresh analysis of historical and contemporary land struggles in Ecuador. Drawing on the pioneering work of Karl Polanyi, the paper characterizes these struggles as the attempt to increase the social and political control of land in the face of mounting commodification. The movement started in the 1960s and remains evident in Ecuador today. Exploring land reform in Ecuador from this theoretical perspective provides new insight into land struggles in the country and contributes to debates over land reforms of the past and present elsewhere in the Global South.

Suggested Citation

  • Goodwin, Geoff, 2017. "The quest to bring land under social and political control: land reform struggles of the past and present in Ecuador," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66383, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:66383

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Saturnino M. Borras & Terry McKinley, 2006. "The Unresolved Land Reform Debate: Beyond State-Led or Market-Led Models," Policy Research Brief 2, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    2. William C. Schaniel & Walter C. Neale, 2000. "Karl Polanyi’s Forms of Integration as Ways of Mapping," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 89-104, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Goodwin, Geoff, 2019. "The problem and promise of coproduction: Politics, history, and autonomy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 501-513.
    2. Geoff Goodwin, 2018. "Rethinking the Double Movement: Expanding the Frontiers of Polanyian Analysis in the Global South," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 49(5), pages 1268-1290, September.
    3. Goodwin, Geoff, 2018. "Rethinking the double movement: expanding the frontiers of Polanyian analysis in the Global South," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87253, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Unai Villalba-Eguiluz & Asier Arcos-Alonso & Juan Carlos Pérez de Mendiguren & Leticia Urretabizkaia, 2020. "Social and Solidarity Economy in Ecuador: Fostering an Alternative Development Model?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(17), pages 1-17, August.

    More about this item


    land reform; land markets; social movements; Ecuador; Karl Polanyi;

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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