Crop booms in borderlands: Perspectives from Southeast Asia

Type

Double Panel

Part 1

Session 2
Wed 11:00–12:30 Room 1.406

Part 2

Session 3
Wed 13:30–15:00 Room 1.406

Conveners

Abstract

Commercial agriculture is continuously and rapidly expanding throughout Southeast Asia. While some commercial crops have been taken up cautiously, more often they have been adopted in dramatic booms by a mixture of local smallholder farmers, domestic companies, and foreign investors. Furthermore, state actors often play a role in promoting crop booms as a means to perform state sovereignty and exert territorial claims to the land, as well as pursuing discursive targets of 'socioeconomic development'. Crop booms are especially dynamic and volatile in borderlands, where capital and market demands often flow between neighbouring countries, heightening both incentives for producers to participate, and their exposure to market risks. The volatility of interactions and relations in borderlands, represent particular challenges for research seeking to understand and governance seeking to address the social and environmental sustainability problems associated with often rapid boom-bust cycles associated with cash-crop production. It is this particular challenge that we seek to engage in this panel. With this panel, we aim to bring together scholars that explore, analyse and/or compare the patterns and dynamics of crop booms as they play out in various borderlands of Southeast Asia. We invite papers that – from different theoretical and methodological perspectives – engage with questions related to the patterns of demand and industries driving booms, the structure of cross-border exchange, the modes of accumulation, the spatiotemporal dynamics, including bust phases and their local outcomes, the constellations of actors involved and/or the social and environmental implications of the boom. Through comparison and contrasting, we hope the session will contribute to advance the understanding of how crop booms play out in highly different social-political-environmental contexts in the borderlands of Southeast Asia. Both single site cases and comparative studies are welcome.