International conference: 'Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World'

Saturday 17 March 2018 - Sunday 18 March 2018 9:00 to 5:00
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, Netherlands

The Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI) focuses on understanding the rise of ‘authoritarian populism’ in rural settings across the world, as well as the forms of resistance occurring and the alternatives being built. New exclusionary politics are generating deepening inequalities, jobless ‘growth’, climate chaos, and social division. The ERPI is focused on the social and political processes in rural spaces that are generating alternatives to regressive, authoritarian politics.

In debating these themes, this international conference contributed to ERPI’s aim to provoke debate and action among scholars, activists, practitioners and policymakers from across the world who are concerned about the current situation, and hopeful about alternatives.

The Twitter hashtag #ERPI2018 was used for online discussion around the conference.

About the conference

Plenary speakers included:
Burak Gürel (Koç University)
Laksmi Adriani Savitri (Samadhya Institute)
Eduardo Gudynas (Latin American Center of Social Ecology)
Natalia Mamonova (The Institute of International Affairs, Sweden)
Andries du Toit (PLAAS, University of the Western Cape)
Zack Exley (Justice Democrats/Left Right Forward)
Achin Vanaik (Transnational Institute)
Dzodzi Tsikata (University of Ghana)
Khin Zaw Win (Tampadipa Institute)
Rebecca Tarlau (Pennsylvania State University)
John Gaventa (Institute of Development Studies)
Stha Yeni (Tshintsha Amakhaya)
Sofia Monsalve (FIAN International)
Karin Nansen (REDES/Friends of the Earth Uruguay)
Raj Patel (University of Texas at Austin)
Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper)
Marc Edelman (City University of New York)
Henry Saragih (Serikat Petani Indonesia/La Via Campesina)


Articles by speakers and organisers on the online magazine openDemocracy explore the issues around the conference.

Confronting authoritarian populism: the rural dimension / Enfrentarse al populismo autoritario: la dimensión rural

Ian Scoones, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Lyda Fernanda Forero, Ruth Hall, Marc Edelman, Wendy Wolford, and Benjamin White
29 January 2018

Hindu authoritarianism and agrarian distress
Achin Vanaik
5 February 2018

Why #DefendAfrin? Confronting authoritarian populism with radical democracy
Amber Huff, Salima Tasdemir, and Patrick Huff
12 February 2018

Sacrifice zones in rural and non-metro USA: fertile soil for authoritarian populism
Marc Edelman
19 February 2018

Islamophobia gastronomica – on the food police, rural populism and killing
Raj Patel
26 February 2018

Authoritarian elitism and popular movements in Brazil / Élites autoritarias y movimientos populares en Brasil
Wendy Wolford and Sergio Sauer
5 March 2018

The demise of emancipatory peasant politics? Indonesian fascism and the rise of Islamic populism
Laksmi Savitri, Devi Adriyanti, Hanny Wijaya, Ciptaningrat Larastiti, Abdul Rahman, and Benjamin White
9 March 2018

How populism directed against minorities is used to prop up Myanmar’s ‘Democratic’ revival
Khin Zaw Win
12 March 2018

After the peace agreement, authoritarian extractivism persists as rural development in Colombia
Lyda Fernanda Forero and Danilo Urrea
14 March 2018

State, corporate and chiefly power is being contested from below in South Africa
Ruth Hall
14 March 2018

Cambridge Analytica hacked our social lives to win elections – but more is at stake than votes
Nathan Oxley
23 March 2018

Ongoing conversations: realising an emancipatory rural politics in the face of authoritarian populism
Ian Scoones
24 March 2018

Blog posts

Confronting authoritarian populism: building collaborations for emancipatory rural resistance
Sergio Coronado, 23 March 2018 (ISS Blog)

Military muscle and populist promises: authoritarian populism in southern Africa
Ian Scoones, 26 March 2018 (Zimbabweland Blog)

Conference papers

In preparation for the conference, the organisers compiled a number of papers and essays submitted by researchers and scholars across the globe.

Multimedia story

View selected tweets, images and links from the conference (

Multimedia story: view selected tweets, images and links from the conference (

International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX Den Haag, Netherlands