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Countering dispossession, reclaiming land

Front cover of booked titled "Countering dispossession, reclaiming land"

This ethnography by David E. Gilbert details the struggle of a group of Indonesian agricultural workers to reclaim their land from a nearby plantation to rebuild and restore the environment and their livelihoods.


This ethnography details how a group of Indonesian agricultural workers occupied an agribusiness plantation near their homes and how this kick started a movement of land reclamation and collective control of natural resources. This book details a struggle for social and environmental justice against industrial agriculture’s exploitation of workers and nature. It provides context for the social and environmental liberation from colonial capitalism through agroecological practice as a system that reaches beyond food production. 

Publisher’s summary

Two decades ago, a group of Indonesian agricultural workers began occupying the agribusiness plantation near their homes. In the years since, members of this remarkable movement have reclaimed collective control of their land and cultivated diverse agricultural forests on it, repairing the damage done over nearly a century of abuse. Countering Dispossession, Reclaiming Land is their story. David E. Gilbert offers an account of the ways these workers-turned-activists mobilized to move beyond industrial agriculture's exploitation of workers and the environment, illustrating how emancipatory and ecologically attuned ways of living with land are possible. At a time when capitalism has remade landscapes and reordered society, the Casiavera reclaiming movement stands as an inspiring example of what struggles for social and environmental justice can achieve.


Gilbert, D.E., 2024. Countering Dispossession, Reclaiming Land: A Social Movement Ethnography. University of California Press. California. 

Read more here and see our podcast on "Battling plantation agriculture today" and blog on Land matters: why we need better land use decision making

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