Welcome to PLAAS

PLAAS does research, policy engagement, teaching and training about the dynamics of chronic poverty and structural inequality in Southern Africa, with a particular emphasis on the key role of restructuring and contesting land holding and agro-food systems in the subcontinent and beyond. Our focus is on the analysis of marginalised livelihoods in Southern Africa, especially of subsistence and smallholder farmers and farm workers, of coastal and inland artisanal fisheries and fishing communities; and of informal self employment in rural and urban areas.

Research Areas


Our research covers diverse areas, ranging from land and tenure reform,  land investment and agro-food restructuring, fisheries and ecosystem management, to social protection and informal self employment. In all this work, our key focus is on the causes and dynamics of inequality and structural poverty, on the economic and social agency of poor...

Latest Publication

The state and land legislation in Botswana

PLAAS Working Paper 30

This paper aims to understand the political and legal dynamics involved in aspects of local government in Botswana as exemplified by legislative enactments. Mawhood (1985) suggests that such...

Upcoming Events

The Social Relations of Agrarian Change in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Social Relations of Agrarian Change in Sub-Saharan Africa
Presenter: Associate Professor Dzodzi Tsikata, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana Social relations are critical to the processes and dynamics of...


New Form of Dispossession in SA

Land rights and collective benefits for the rural poor are being sacrificed as a feudal and patriarchal system of governance, sustained in the name of heritage, is expanding the authority of...