'Celebrating ten years of research, training and policy engagement on land and agrarian reform, livelihoods, community-based natural resource management, and poverty'. A ten year review report 1995-2005
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The Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Over the last ten years we have undertaken research on land and agrarian reform, the changing composition of livelihoods and poverty dynamics in both rural and urban contexts, rural governance, community-based natural resource management, fisheries management, and linkages between land and water rights. All of our work has had a strong applied dimension, and PLAAS researchers have often engaged in policy debates and argued strongly in favour of particular objectives and ways to achieve them. Recurring themes within PLAAS research are patterns of poverty and inequality, the character and distribution of property rights, and contested power relations, all of which are central to the task of socioeconomic transformation after apartheid. These are complex aspects of social reality, and understanding their structure and the underlying causal processes at work is extremely challenging. We have striven to balance our concern for policy relevance and our commitment to social change with a strong emphasis on rigorous and theoretically well-informed scholarship. We have also developed a post-graduate teaching programme in land and agrarian studies, the only one of its kind in the region, and delivered a wide range of short training courses for government officials and NGO workers. In celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, we will be reflecting on whether or not we manage to live up to our mission, and asking what key questions and issues we should address in the decade to come.