Rural Commons and the Experience of the Movimento Sem Terra in Brazil

  •  Noemi Rossi    
  •  Nathalie Colasanti    
  •  Gloria Fiorani    
  •  Chiara di Gerio    


The objective of this paper is to analyse the experience of the Movimento Sem Terra in Brazil, with the analysis of a single case study, in order to highlight how it resonates with the theory of commons and rural commons, and how such practices can advance sustainable development and inter-generational equity. This topic is particularly interesting given the growing interest for commoning practices and their positive approach toward environmental issues. The research will be conducted by using a qualitative method based on a single case study, which was chosen for its relevance in the local context and for the possibility of accessing primary information. Results indicate that the approach of the MST, and of participants in the Dorcelina Folador settlement, is quite similar to other commoning practices and strongly focused on caring for land and making it flourish, rather than ensuring private ownership for profit-making purposes. In fact, settlers state that they do not want to become land owners, as they see land as something sacred and belonging to the community as a whole, and their objective is to ensure that it is protected. Moreover, the practices carried out by Movimento Sem Terra usually lead to improved conditions in terms of agricultural results, biodiversity and environmental protection, indicating the movement’s strong drive toward sustainability.

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