Agroecology as a pathway to resilience justice: peasant movements and collective action in the Niayes coastal region of Senegal

Boillat, Sébastien-Pierre; Bottazzi, Patrick (2020). Agroecology as a pathway to resilience justice: peasant movements and collective action in the Niayes coastal region of Senegal International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 27(7), pp. 662-677. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/13504509.2020.1758972

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In semi-arid sub-Saharan Africa, farming populations face harsh climatic conditions but also very unequal and dynamic social processes that affect their resilience. This study addresses aspects of power and social justice related to the social-ecological system of the Niayes coastal region of Senegal and examines the potential of agroecology to improve the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers. We performed a knowledge co-production process with a local farmer union to identify the main social-ecological nexuses that matter for smallholder farmers, their dynamics and the influence of powerful actors and institutions on them. We also look at the potential actions of the farmer union under the banner of agroecology to transform these dynamics. We found that social-ecological dynamics involve reinforcing feedback loops that undermine the resilience of smallholder farmers and that powerful actors such as agribusinesses have a strong influence on these processes. Union actions promoting agroecology have enhanced system thinking and related solutions, but observed social justice claims are very recent and have a limited scope. Our findings expand the notion of resilience grabbing, understood as the undermining of resilience through the loss of commons, to include systemic degradations due to direct and indirect actions of involved stakeholders. We also propose to expand the notion of resilience justice vertically, integrating procedural and recognition justice, and horizontally, integrating linked social-ecological issues. We conclude that agroecology can become a transformative bridge from resilience grabbing to resilience justice, but must be more sensitive to power relations, in particular around labour.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL


Boillat, Sébastien-Pierre0000-0002-8035-6335 and
Bottazzi, Patrick


G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)




Taylor & Francis




Sébastien-Pierre Boillat

Date Deposited:

23 Jan 2024 14:52

Last Modified:

23 Jan 2024 14:52

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Agroecology; environmental justice; social-ecological system; transformation knowledge; resilience grabbing; resilience justice; Niayes; Senegal




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