The politics of evidence: A response to Rulli and D'Odorico

08 Jun 2017

We welcome Rulli and D’Odorico’s response to our introduction to the Journal for Peasant Studies (JPS) Forum on Global Land Grabbing(Scoones etal.2013) in which we discussed the ‘literature rush’ that has accompanied the global ‘land rush’. We outlined a series of concerns with the data being used in this literature – concerns both with the data itself and with its uncritical deployment in popular and academic studies. We called for a second phase of land grab research that would ground abstract calculations of imprecise global averages in favour of concrete, situated and transparent research that could address critical questions such as what is actually happening, who is winning and losing, and why. With our discussion of the ‘politics of evidence’ we called for research that would extend beyond the fixation on ‘killer facts’–the headline-grabbing numbers. Instead, ground-truthing and generating traceable datasets are essential.