The Process of Land Grabbing
: The Voice of Marginalised Communities in Bangladesh

  • Ashrafuzzaman Khan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Land-grabbing is an issue of global significance. It is a key driver of conflict and violence. There is a growing wealth of research focusing on the macro political-economic processes underpinning land-grabs, but there is lack of empirical material on localised micro politicaleconomic processes that frame land-grabs. This thesis explores the micro-politics of landgrabbing and resistance, focusing on marginalised communities in Bangladesh. When lands are grabbed in a context marked by asymmetric power relations, influential actors, including individuals, politicians, state agencies, and private companies tend to grab the land – especially from marginalised communities – through violence and leveraging their privileged social networks. This process results in contentions between powerful actors, who make attempts to grab the land, and less powerful actors, who mobilise to resist dispossession. The process of resistance seems to be influenced profoundly by localised cultural contexts.
In order to understand the resistance trajectories to land-grabs prompt, Charles Tilly’s theoretical contribution – contentious politics – has been employed. Contentious politics offers an analytical lens for isolating, analysing and incorporating into a broader whole the social determinations critical to land-grab outcomes, either the triumphant or failed or ineffectual form of resistance. By using the lenses of contentious politics, the study attempts to understand the granular social transactions which drive the micro-politics of land grabbing and resistance. In order to map successful and unsuccessful resistance trajectories to landgrabs, the study has selected four case studies – balancing state actors and non-state actors – employing the multiple-case study approach. Drawing on contentious politics theory and the selected case studies, this thesis conceptualises some of the core variables that mediate successful and unsuccessful resistance efforts.
Date of AwardSept 2020
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsVice Chancellor's Research Scholarship (VCRS)
SupervisorKristian Lasslett (Supervisor), Shane MacGiollabhui (Supervisor) & Siddiqur Osmani (Supervisor)


  • Land Grabbing
  • Resistance
  • Contentious politics
  • Marginalised communitiesgladesh.
  • Powerful actors
  • Bangladesh

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