Farm Labor Struggles in Zimbabwe: The Ground of Politics
Indiana University Press, 2016
Blair Rutherford (Carleton University) has a new book, Farm Labor Struggles in Zimbabwe: The Ground of Politics. Published by Indiana University Press, this ethnography examines the tumult of agrarian politics during a time of transformative change through focusing on farm workers, men and women who had been working on what were nearly 5,000 commercial farms predominantly owned and operated by white Zimbabweans before the vast majority were redistributed to black Zimbabweans in the 2000s. Anchored around an unprecedented twenty month labour dispute on a horticultural farm that was embroiled in both the democratization movement and the political violence that marked the turn of the twenty-first century in this southern African country, Rutherford complicates dominant scholarly and media portrayals. His ethnographic analysis instead shows how farm worker livelihoods, access to land, gendered and racialized violence, and conflicting promises of rights and sovereignty articulated in more complicated ways than had been imagined.