Ian Scoones

Ian Scoones
Institute of Development Studies

About

249
Publications
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Publications

Publications (249)
Preprint
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Confronting uncertainties in pastoral areas: transforming development from control to care Abstract Pastoralists must continuously confront uncertainties, responding to high levels of variability and volatility where the future is unknown. Yet mainstream modernising development in pastoral areas aims to create stability through control, enacted thr...
Article
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The relationship between livestock production and climate change is the subject of hot debate, with arguments for major shifts in diets and a reduction in livestock production. This Perspective examines how global assessments of livestock‐derived methane emissions are framed, identifying assumptions and data gaps that influence standard life‐cycle...
Article
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Today there is a disjuncture between migration flows that are complex, mixed and constantly evolving and the emerging global migration governance paradigm that seeks to impose clarity, certainty, regularity and order. Addressing the gap between policies and realities, this article explores lessons for migration policy and governance from mobile pas...
Article
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How can reliability be generated and sustained in the face of uncertainty? This question is explored by examining knowledge networks among pastoralists and others in northern Kenya, emerging in response to a highly variable animal disease setting. Using quantitative and qualitative social network analysis, intersecting locally-embedded, development...
Article
Motivation Social assistance and humanitarian relief in disaster response increasingly overlap, especially where recurrent crises and persistent conflicts prevail. In such situations, distinctions between risk and uncertainty become especially important. Shifting the focus from risk assessment and management to embracing uncertainty is important fo...
Article
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Contract farming schemes often amplify existing patterns of socio-economic differentiation. In Zimbabwe, processes of differentiation were underway before the current expansion of contract farming and they have deepened through the Fast Track Land Reform process. This article examines how pre-existing dynamics of differentiation shape the forms of...
Book
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While 2020 was a challenging year, 2021 is set to be equally challenging with the emergence of multiple variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), new SARS-CoV-2 variants 501Y.V1 (B.1.1.7) in the UK and 501Y.V2 (B.1.351) in South Africa. The arrival of vaccines and the advancements in therapeutic remedies have sparked...
Article
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This essay introduces and invites contributions to a new Journal of Peasant Studies Forum on ‘climate change and critical agrarian studies’. Climate change is inextricably entwined with contemporary capitalism, but how the relationship between capitalism and climate change plays out in the rural world requires deeper analysis. In particular, the wa...
Article
What are the connections between a banker working on a trading floor in London and a pastoralist herding animals across the grasslands of East Africa? More than you’d think. Let me explain how they’re connected; and why they can both learn from each other. From Aeon magazine: https://aeon.co/essays/what-bankers-should-learn-from-the-traditions-of-...
Article
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The goal of this paper is to explain why and how increasing commoditization and incorporation in the market economy are only now leading to a critical transition from pastoralism to ranching in Central Africa. While there are similarities between pastoralism and capitalism-in both systems, entrepreneurs are strategically maximizing their "stock"-th...
Chapter
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Perspectives on large-scale investment in Africa's rural margins often start from the assumption that projects happen in socio-ecological and livelihood settings that were relatively stable and undisturbed until new developments. Yet in Kenya's northern Rift Valley recent large-scale infrastructural investments intersect with longer-term changes in...
Article
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This paper argues for a rethinking of disease preparedness that puts incertitude and the politics of knowledge at the centre. Through examining the experiences of Ebola, Nipah, cholera and COVID-19 across multiple settings, the limitations of current approaches are highlighted. Conventional approaches assume a controllable, predictable future, whic...
Article
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COVID-19 is proving to be the long awaited ‘big one’: a pandemic capable of bringing societies and economies to their knees. There is an urgent need to examine how COVID-19 – as a health and development crisis - unfolded the way it did it and to consider possibilities for post-pandemic transformations and for rethinking development more broadly. Dr...
Article
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Zimbabwe’s land reform from 2000 radically transformed the agrarian structure, and with this small towns in rural areas. This article explores three such towns—Mvurwi, Chatsworth and Maphisa—examining changes in population, housing, transport and business activity between 2000 and 2020. Case studies highlight the importance of networks and social r...
Article
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The emergence of medium-scale farms is having important consequences for agricultural commercialisation across Africa. This article examines the role of medium-scale A2 farms allocated following Zimbabwe's land reform after 2000. While the existing literature focuses on changing farm size distributions, this article investigates processes of social...
Chapter
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More than ever before, the gaze of global investment has been directed to the drylands of Africa, but what does this mean for these regions' pastoralists and other livestock-keepers and their livelihoods? Will those who have occupied drylands over generations benefit from the developments, as claimed, or is this a new type of territorialisation, ex...
Article
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For many years, studies of peasants and pastoralists have run in parallel, creating mutual blind-spots. This article argues that, despite contrasting research traditions and conceptual framings, there are many commonalities. The classic problematics of agrarian studies-around production, accumulation and politics-apply as much to pastoralists as th...
Article
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This paper explores the intersecting factors that have shifted pathways of commercialisation, mostly of tobacco and maize, in Mvurwi area in northern Mazowe district, Zimbabwe, since 1890. The paper looks at five periods, starting with early colonisation by white settlers, then examines the consolidation of ‘European agriculture’ following World Wa...
Article
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This archive IDS Bulletin reflects on 50 years of research on pastoralism at IDS. Thirteen articles are introduced around six themes that have characterised IDS-linked research over this period. These are: pastoral livelihoods; institutions and common property resource management; climate change and ecological dynamics; food security, early warning...
Article
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In much of Eastern Africa, the last decade has seen a renewed interest in spatial development plans that link mineral exploitation, transport infrastructure and agricultural commercialisation. While these development corridors have yielded complex results – even in cases where significant investments are yet to happen – much of the existing analysi...
Article
The imperatives of environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation and social justice (partially codified in the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) call for ambitious societal transformations. As such, few aspects of actionable knowledge for sustainability are more crucial than those concerning the processes of transformation. This article of...
Article
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Abstract This short report describes the PASTRES (Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience: Global Lessons from the Margins) project, its objectives and early implementation. PASTRES investigates the principles inspiring the strategies and the practices applied by pastoralists to tackle and live with and through uncertainties. By engaging in a dialo...
Article
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Climate change research is at an impasse. The transformation of economies and everyday practices is more urgent, and yet appears ever more daunting as attempts at behaviour change, regulations, and global agreements confront material and social-political infrastructures that support the status quo. Effective action requires new ways of conceptualiz...
Article
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Farmer-led irrigation is far more extensive in Zimbabwe than realised by planners and policymakers. This paper explores the pattern of farmer-led irrigation in neighbouring post-land reform smallholder resettlement sites in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo district. Across 49 farmer-led cases, 41.3 hectares of irrigated land was identified, representing two per...
Article
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This article explores the livelihood challenges and opportunities of young people following Zimbabwe's land reform in 2000. The article explores the life courses of a cohort of men and women, all children of land reform settlers, in two contrasting smallholder land reform sites. Major challenges to social reproduction are highlighted, reflected in...
Chapter
Making the world more sustainable is the biggest challenge of our time. Views on ways forward differ greatly but tend to concur that transformations are urgent. History tells us that there are no single lines of causation: transformations result from a concurrence of multiple changes. Given this challenge of both complexity and urgency, this chapte...
Article
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Book details Roy H. Behnke and Michael Mortimore (editors) The End of Desertification. Disputing Environmental Change in the Drylands. Springer-Verlag, Berlin (2016). 560 pp. ISBN 978-3-642-16013-4. £126 (hardback)
Article
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What happens to labour when major redistributive land reform restructures a system of settler colonial agriculture? This article examines the livelihoods of former farmworkers on large‐scale commercial farms who still live in farm compounds after Zimbabwe's land reform. Through a mix of surveys and in‐depth biographical interviews, four different t...
Article
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Across Africa there has been a growth in medium-sized farms, including in Zimbabwe following the land reform of 2000. What are the prospects of such farms driving new forms of agricultural commercialization? In this article we seek to learn lessons from the past by examining the experience of ‘native purchase areas’, which were established from the...
Article
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Global resource scarcity has become a central policy concern, with predictions of rising populations, natural resource depletion and hunger. The narratives of scarcity that arise as a result justify actions to harness resources considered ‘underutilised’, leading to contestations over rights and entitlements and producing new scarcities. Yet scarci...
Article
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Understanding the socio-ecology of disease requires careful attention to the role of patches within disease landscapes. Such patches, and the interfaces between different socio-epidemiological systems, we argue, have important implications for disease control.We conducted an interdisciplinary study over three years to investigate the spatial dynami...
Article
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The concept of One Health, which aims to drive improvements in human, animal and ecological health through an holistic approach, has been gaining increasing support and attention in recent years. While this concept has much appeal, there are few examples where it has been successfully put into practice. This Special Issue explores the challenges in...
Article
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This paper argues that addressing the underlying structural drivers of disease vulnerability is essential for a ‘One Health’ approach to tackling zoonotic diseases in Africa. Through three case studies—trypanosomiasis in Zimbabwe, Ebola and Lassa fever in Sierra Leone and Rift Valley fever in Kenya—we show how political interests, commercial invest...
Article
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This paper argues for an integrative modelling approach for understanding zoonoses disease dynamics, combining process, pattern and participatory models. Each type of modelling provides important insights, but all are limited. Combining these in a ‘3P’ approach offers the opportunity for a productive conversation between modelling efforts, contribu...
Article
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A new political moment is underway. Although there are significant differences in how this is constituted in different places, one manifestation of the new moment is the rise of distinct forms of authoritarian populism. In this opening paper of the JPS Forum series on ‘Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World’, we explore the relationship between...
Article
Full-text available
The concept of One Health, which aims to drive improvements in human, animal and ecological health through an holistic approach, has been gaining increasing support and attention in recent years. While this concept has much appeal, there are few examples where it has been successfully put into practice. This Special Issue explores the challenges in...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues for an integrative modelling approach for understanding zoonoses disease dynamics, combining process, pattern and participatory models. Each type of modelling provides important insights, but all are limited. Combining these in a ‘3P’ approach offers the opportunity for a productive conversation between modelling efforts, contribu...
Article
Full-text available
The growth of smallholder tobacco production since 2000 has been one of the big stories of Zimbabwe's post–land reform experience. Yet the implications for agrarian change, and the consequences for new relations between farmers, the state, and agribusiness capital have rarely been discussed. The paper reports on work carried out in the Mvurwi area...
Article
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Whether or not investments in African agriculture can generate quality employment at scale, avoid dispossessing local people of their land, promote diversified and sustainable livelihoods, and catalyse more vibrant local economies depends on what farming model is pursued. In this Forum, we build on recent scholarship by discussing the key findings...
Article
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This article focuses on the methodological lessons from Sam Moyo’s scholarship. Sam’s research is characterised by a combination of detailed empirical investigation, deep knowledge of the technical and practical aspects of agricultural production and farming livelihoods, and big-picture political economy analysis and theory. Sam’s method is an insi...
Article
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This review examines the relationships between politics, sustainability, and development. Following an overview of sustainability thinking across different traditions, the politics of resources, and the influence of scarcity narratives on research, policy and practice are explored. This highlights the politics of transformations and the way these p...
Article
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This paper reviews pastoralism in the Horn of Africa region with reference to the basic socio-economics of pastoralism, and the use of mobile livestock production to generate income and food for human consumption. The paper also examines long-term trends in pastoralist areas which, at first sight, appear to be contradictory. The first trend is the...
Article
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In this introductory paper we review historic and contemporary development of sugar cane production across the southern Africa. We argue that the region’s sugar industry provides a useful lens through which to understand current dynamics of corporate capital and agricultural production in Africa. We identify three distinct elements of political-eco...
Article
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The expansion of outgrower areas linked to large lowveld sugar estates has been an important component of Zimbabwe’s land reform since 2000. This has involved the transfer of nearly 16,000 ha to over 800 resettlement farmers on irrigated ‘A2’ plots of around 20 ha each. These farmers now produce around a quarter of the sugar output linked to the Tr...
Technical Report
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The *Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) are a globally negotiated and agreed framework endorsed in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) on 11 May 2012. The VGGT represent a political agreement on the minimum standards for land governance, com...
Article
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Global risks of zoonotic disease are high on policy agendas. Increasingly, Africa is seen as a ‘hotspot’, with likely disease spillovers from animals to humans. This paper explores the social dynamics of disease exposure, demonstrating how risks are not generalised, but are related to occupation, gender, class and other dimensions of social differe...
Article
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This paper introduces a Special Section on Chinese and Brazilian engagements in African agriculture. The paper asks if a new paradigm for development cooperation is emerging, and argues that we must move beyond the simplistic narratives of either “South–South” collaboration or “neo-imperial” expansion of “rising powers” to look at the dynamic and c...
Technical Report
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The international emergence of India’s generic pharmaceuticals industry is seen as a success for international development and cooperation, bringing affordable drugs to populations not only in India itself but across the developing world, including in Africa. Could India’s thriving seed sector play a similar role in delivering affordable, high-qual...
Article
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Political reactions ‘from below’ to global land grabbing have been vastly more varied and complex than is usually assumed. This essay introduces a collection of ground-breaking studies that discuss responses that range from various types of organized and everyday resistance to demands for incorporation or for better terms of incorporation into land...
Article
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The reconfiguration of land and economic opportunity following Zimbabwe's land reform from 2000 has resulted in a new politics of the countryside. This emerges from the processes of accumulation and differentiation set in train by the land reform. Yet these politics are contested: between the interests of new ‘middle farmers’ who are ‘accumulating...
Book
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Amidst the pressing challenges of global climate change, the last decade has seen a wave of forest carbon projects across the world, designed to conserve and enhance forest carbon stocks in order to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and offset emissions elsewhere. Exploring a set of new empirical case studies, Carbon Conflicts and Forest L...
Book
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Multiple ‘green transformations’ are required if humanity is to live sustainably on planet Earth. Recalling past transformations, this book examines what makes the current challenge different, and especially urgent. It examines how green transformations must take place in the context of the particular moments of capitalist development, and in relat...
Article
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For four decades, The Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) has served as a principal arena for the formation and dissemination of cutting-edge research and theory. It is globally renowned as a key site for documenting and analyzing variegated trajectories of agrarian change across space and time. Over the years, authors have taken new angles as they re...
Data
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The ability of innovation—both technical and social—to stretch and redefine 'limits to growth' was recognised at Stockholm in 1972, and has been a key feature in debates through to Rio+20 in 2012. Compared with previous major moments of global reflection about human and planetary futures—Stockholm, Rio in 1992, Johannesburg in 2002—we now have a be...
Article
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In a context of neo-liberal environmental governance, imperatives for global climate change mitigation are motivating a new round of policy initiatives and projects aimed at carbon forestry: conserving and enhancing forest carbon stocks, and trading these values in emerging carbon markets. In this context modelling and measurement, always significa...