Agroecology and Radical Grassroots Movements’ Evolving Moral Economies

Author: David Meek
Volume 5, Number 1 (2014)


Reoccupation of Fazenda Fortaleza Helena as part of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST) (photograph by Mïdia Ninja via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).


I focus on the role of agroecology in rural proletarian social movements in this article. First, I highlight these movements’ conception of agroecology as an important element of their political ideology. Second, I explore the value of agroecology in helping maintain the permanence of the peasantry. Third, I show that rural proletarian movements emphasize agroecology because it is key to attaining sovereignty. I draw upon the geographic lenses of territory, the production of space, and autonomous geographies in positing these arguments. Throughout the article, I draw upon a case study of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement, one of the most vocal agroecological social movements, to illustrate these arguments.

is an environmental anthropologist working in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama. His research focuses on how people learn through political participation, and the potential impact this learning has on agricultural practices and landscape changes. David’s dissertation research focused on the relationships between public policies, economic incentives, and educational processes within an agrarian reform settlement in the Brazilian Amazon. David’s research has been funded by the Fulbright Program, the Social Science Research Council, and the National Science Foundation.

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