Research overview

Research overview

My research examines the agrarian changes that reshape rural territories and land systems in Cambodia and the wider Mekong region. I look into these transformations through the experiences of smallholder farmers whom I consider to be key development actors. This is despite the political-economic forces that compel them to adjust to markets or requirements imposed by the State.

It borrows from agrarian political economy, critical geography, and agricultural economics. My approach is historical as it aims to interpret how legacies of the past are reproduced or reflected in the present. It builds on fieldwork and direct interactions with peasants using ethnographic methods but also takes into account other forms of knowledge gained from land surveys, studies based on large socio-economic and demographic datasets, and archives, as well as policy and discourse analyses.

My analysis is multi-scale, situating historical realities and the influence of stakeholders within wider biophysical, political, economic, and social processes. I rely on spatial data and information along with mapping tools to understand how rural territories develop and change.

My research so far has four main themes that partly overlap:

  1. The transformation of smallholder activity systems and their integration within agricultural commodities value chains
  2. Land relations in the Mekong region: peasants, markets, and the State
  3. The making of post-war territories in the north-western uplands of Cambodia
  4. Spatial and land use planning