“Once upon a Time We Had the Commons” the Change on Small Peasantry: The Case of Kocaoba, İzmir, Turkey

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
Zeynep Ceren EREN , Middle East Technical University, Turkey
                                               “Once Upon a Time We Had the Commons”

The Change on Small Peasantry: The Case of Kocaoba, İzmir, Turkey

Especially after the post-80s, the rural Anatolia has been under rapid change due to the neoliberal policies. Capitalist penetration into rural, crystallized through the Structural Adjustment Policies, have provided radical consequences for the small peasantry, which is still the dominant category in agriculture. However, despite having experienced intensively the process of commodification, the land acquisition by inter/national companies is not a common phenomenon yet. Unlike many countries of the South, the land has newly become a commodity itself in Turkey.

The case of Kocaoba could be seen as one of the exceptional examples in this manner. The company of AGROBAY, has bought 150 hectares of land recently, with the purpose of establishing a large-scale greenhouse. Yet, the land occupied by the company has been previously used as a pasture by the peasants, whose livelihoods depended mainly on husbandry. However AGROBAY have started production and marketing to European countries successfully. The other companies have also started to come to the area.

In this study, the main socio-economic consequences of land grabbing as such would be investigated on local community level. Could the change of the ownership of the rights be counted as a beginning of a new phase in the process of commodification? If so, what would be the response given by the peasants, how do they deal with the new situation in their daily life? In the light of the discussion on dispossession/proletarianization of peasantry, the strategies of the villagers would be included to understand the main dynamics underlying the re-formation of the households. In this context, the ongoing field research will be extended on the village of Kocaoba; in-depth interviews and focus groups are planned to be conducted with the villagers.