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Public Speech on Gender, Land and the Right to Food in Southeast Asia by Ben White

22 July, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

A number of forces – including transnational land acquisitions, domestic investors, migrants, conservation efforts, and government policies – have come together in recent years to put commercial pressure on land across the world and encourage its commodification. This has accelerated processes of agrarian transition, affecting rural livelihoods, impacting food security and social relations. In South East Asia, as elsewhere, the commercialization of land and agriculture have also been accompanied by significant impacts on the rights to food and land.

Some factors that are often neglected in academic and public discussions are the ways in which the outcomes of commercialization processes are unequally distributed and often dependent on identity attributes such as gender, age, class and ethnicity and while some benefit, others lose out. This event – part of the six-year DEMETER (Droits et Egalité pour une Meilleure Economie de la Terre) research for development project funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation – will consider these issues. In particular, it will highlight the intersection of gender, land commercialisation, generation and the right to food in selected countries in Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia and Cambodia. 

The program, organized by the Graduate Institute Geneva (IHEID), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute (CUSRI) and Southeast Asia (SEA) Junction, consists of the following:

Program on 22 July at 6-7.30PM

Welcome addresses by

  • Babette P Resurrección, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Prapart Pintobtang, Director of Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute and Associate professor of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University


  • Rosalia Sciortino, IPSR, Mahidol University & SEA Junction

Public Speech

“At the intersection of gender, generation and class: young women farmers in commercializing smallholder agriculture”

Ben White

Professor, International Institute for Social Studies (ISS), The Hague


  • Saba Joshi, PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva on how contestation over land is shaping political identities among women and indigenous minorities in Cambodia 
  • Sara Vigil, research fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute and PhD fellow at International Institute for Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Hague and University of Liege, Belgium on climate change, land grabs and migration in Cambodia and Senegal.

Questions & Answers

Please note that the event will be held at Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Political Science, 6th floor, Kasem-uttayanin building, close to the entrance from Henri Dunant Road. It is in the same building as the Stockholm Environment Institute. See on google maps: Click Here

Short bios speakers:

Ben White is Emeritus Professor of Rural Sociology at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. His research focuses on processes of change in rural societies and the anthropology and history of childhood and youth, particularly in the area of child work and education. He has been engaged in research on these issues in Indonesia since the early 1970s. His publications include; Rights and Wrongs of Children’s Work (2010), Growing up in Indonesia: experience and diversity in youth transition (2012) as well as numerous papers on themes related to gender, land, youth and politics of resistance in processes of agrarian change.

Saba Joshi is a PhD student in the Political Science/International Relations department at the Graduate Institute. Her PhD focuses on agrarian transformation, gender, peasant resistance and land rights in Cambodia. Saba’s recent publications include, ‘Working wives: gender, labour and land commercialization in Ratanakiri, Cambodia’. Globalizations (2019).

Sara Vigil is a Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute in the Gender, Environment, and Development research cluster. Sara is finalizing her PhD at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS, The Hague) and at the University of Liege (Belgium). Her dissertation focuses on the interconnections between environmental change, land grabbing, and migration in Senegal and Cambodia. Sara’s recent publication include “Green Grabbing-Induced Displacement.” In The Handbook on Environmental Displacement and Migration, New York: Routledge (2018).

Photo: Dirt road in Ratanakiri

The event is free. For information/reservation for our events please email southeastasiajunction@gmail.com or phone/wa: +66970024140


The Graduate Institute Geneva (IHEID)

IHEID located in Geneva is an institution of research and higher education dedicated to the study of world affairs, with a particular emphasis on the cross-cutting fields of international relations and development issues. For more information see https://graduateinstitute.ch/research-centres/gender-centre/land-commercialisation-gendered-agrarian-transformation-and-right

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)

SEI Asia, located in Bangkok is an international non-profit research and policy organization that tackles environment and development challenges through connecting science and decision-making for a sustainable future for all. For more information see https://www.sei.org/centres/asia/ and join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/198768937681796/

Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute (CUSRI):

CUSRI, located in Bangkok, is first social research institute in Thailand. Its mission is to search for knowledge and understandings of social transformations in relation to the economy, society, politics, education, culture, and the environment, and studies the ensuing impact of these social changes. For more information see https://www.chula.ac.th/en/academic/social-research-institute/

SEA Junction, OUR Venue on Southeast Asia 
SEA Junction aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions –from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium) SEA junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org and join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1693055870976440/