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

Towards Defragmenting the Management System of Lake Chilwa Basin, Malawi

The book presents results of the Defragmenting African Resource Management (DARMA) Project covering Lake Chilwa basin in Malawi.

The central theme is that in order to ensure resource base...

Upcoming Events

Water service delivery in rural South Africa

PRESENTER: Michela Marcatelli, PhD Student in Development Studies, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) This presentation will address the failures in water service delivery in the small...


Masters/Doctoral Studentship

Applications are invited for a Masters/Doctoral Studentship at PLAAS. The successful applicant will undertake in-depth research as part of a research project to ...