Credit, land and survival work in rural Cambodia: Rethinking rural autonomy through a feminist lens

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Abstract

This article explores the trajectory of three rural, precarious Cambodian women as they deploy land as a means of undertaking survival work in Cambodia. Using a gendered lens vis-à-vis the concept of autonomy, this article rethinks distress sales of land and collateralized land for microfinance borrowing as forms of everyday autonomy. By highlighting women's central role in undertaking social reproductive labour to reproduce the rural household, these acts of distress land sale and debt-taking are understood as forms of ‘survival work’, acts that ensure the day-to-day survival of the household and form the basis for broader projects of autonomy. Although we remain ambivalent about the long-term prospects for resistance through credit-taking in particular, we ultimately highlight the need for greater attention to variegated oppositional agency in the path to autonomy to understand the gendered labour of everyday survival in rural life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-488
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Agrarian Change
Volume22
Issue number3
Early online date2 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Cambodia
  • debt
  • gender
  • land
  • rural
  • social reproduction

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