Development Alternatives from the Middle East – North Africa: Big Plans and Small Farms in the Search for Sustainability

Project: PostDoc

Project Details


Since the 2010-2011 Arab uprisings, rural poverty, agriculture, food import dependence, and climate change began to feature more prominently in Middle East-North African (MENA) development agendas. Development Alternatives from MENA: Big Plans and Small Farms in the Search for Sustainability focuses on intellectual “paths not taken” in smallholder development.[1] It offers an intellectual history of development practitioners, agronomists, and economists’ rupture with the industrialization/modernization paradigm in agriculture since the 1960s. These thinkers and practitioners analyzed the problems of industrialization of agriculture and the causes of underdevelopment, re-thought agriculture’s role in ecologically-sound development, fused their analyses of circular agriculture with the “dependency school” of economics, and produced local models for self-reliant development focused on smallholder farms.[2] This intellectual history elaborates how MENA researchers produced this planning framework, examines its intellectual content, and investigates how is it being taken up in the present moment of post-revolutionary upheaval. It uses archives, oral histories, and technical literature to address these questions and places them in the context of international circuits of agronomic and development-related intellectual production. It then accounts for how they are being again taken up in a post-2011 world.
Effective start/end date1/01/211/01/23


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