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Transnational Large-Scale Land Transactions, the Disappearing Commons and Livelihood Insecurities in Ghana: A Gender Perspective

Event Type
European Union Center, WGGP, Center for Advanced Study, African Studies
Heritage Room, ACES Library, 1101 S. Goodwin, Urbana (map)
Feb 28, 2013   12:00 pm  
Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata, CEGENSA
Originating Calendar
European Union Center Events

ABSTRACT: Tsikata draws on her study of three cases in Ghana to explore the gendered implications of recent land transactions for land tenure security, the availability of and access to the commons, food security and livelihood outcomes for men and women of different social groups. The transactions in question involve American, Norwegian and Dutch capital and concern land acquisitions for the cultivation of rice, jatropha and mangoes respectively. The studies use qualitative methods, involving focus group discussions with men and women farmers and with the chiefs, as well as in-depth interviews with a selected number of male and female farmers in several communities. In all three cases, there have been significant losses of common spaces, with gendered impacts. Because of their reproductive roles, the sexual division of labour in production and gender inequalities in land tenure systems, women have particular interests in the commons over and above men’s use of such spaces. The three cases allow for a comparison of different land tenure systems, the impacts on locals as well as settlers and the particularities in the roles and discourses of the state, chiefs, the leadership of the local land-owning groups and the urban elite. In addition, they highlight the specificities of the land transactions, their business models and their implications for the pre-existing land tenure systems, food security, and the wider political economy.

SPEAKER BIO: Dzodzi Tsikata is head of the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA) at the University of Ghana and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER). She has a Ph.D. in social science from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her research interests are the areas of gender and livelihoods, development policy, and land tenure and food security. Publications  include Land Tenure, Gender and Globalization: Research and Analysis from Africa, Asia, and Latin America (co-edited with Pamela Golah, 2010), “The Informal Economy and Urban Women’s Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s,” in Razavi (ed), The Gendered Impacts of Liberalization (2009), and Living in the Shadow of the Large Dams: Long Term Responses of Lakeside and Downstream Communities of Ghana’s Volta River Project (2006). Currently, she is co-editing a special issue of Feminist Economics on Land, Gender, and Food Security, funded by the Ford Foundation. Prof. Tsikata is the lead researcher in the IDRC funded study of employment agencies and women’s work in the domestic and banking sectors in Ghana. She is a member of the editorial advisory group of Feminist Africa, Journal for Peasant Studies, African Sociological Review, and Development and Democracy.

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