Understanding rural resistance: contemporary mobilization in the Brazilian countryside

Anthony Pahnke, Rebecca Tarlau, Wendy Wolford

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Contradictions between impressive levels of economic growth and the persistence of poverty and inequality are perhaps nowhere more evident than in rural Brazil. While Brazil might appear to be an example of the potential harmony between large-scale, export-oriented agribusiness and small-scale family farming, high levels of rural resistance contradict this vision. In this introductory paper, we synthesize the literature on agrarian resistance in Brazil and situate recent struggles in Brazil within the Latin American context more broadly. We highlight seven key characteristics of contemporary Latin American resistance, which include: the growth of international networks, the changing structure of state–society collaboration, the deepening of territorial claims, the importance of autonomy, the development of alternative economies, continued opposition to dispossession, and struggles over the meaning of nature. We argue that by analyzing rural mobilization in Brazil, this collection offers a range of insights relevant to rural contention globally. Each contribution in this collection increases our understanding of alternative agricultural production, large-scale development projects, education, race and political parties in the contemporary agrarian context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1085
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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