Land Rights at the time of Global Production: Multi-territoriality and ‘legal chokeholds’

Tomaso Ferrando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
212 Downloads (Pure)


This article utilizes the struggles for land rights associated to two sugar cane investments in Cambodia to reflect on the interactions between the multi-territoriality of supply chain capitalism and the multiplication of local spaces of legal intervention. With a combination of legal institutionalism, critical geography and value chains analysis, the article engages with value chains as the new space and form of the global system of production and looks at the theoretical and practical implications that derive from delocalization, outsourcing and the establishment of transnational networks that cut across boundaries and jurisdictions. After discussing the human rights impact of large-scale sugar production in the Koh-Kong region, the article introduces a critical legal chain approach to unpack and make visible the material and legal threads that connect Cambodia with multiple geographies around the world. In its last part, it utilizes the multi-territorial character of production to map its complexity and introduce the notion of ‘legal chokeholds’. These are legal structures and spaces of intervention that can be leveraged by human rights scholars, activists and other actors interested in re-defining the way in which rights, bargaining power and value are distributed through the chain of production. The violations and possible defence of the land rights that occurred in Cambodia are thus presented as output of non-linear interactions between legal and non-legal elements that operate at a distance, often unaware of each other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-295
Number of pages21
JournalBusiness and Human Rights Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2017


  • global value chain
  • land rights
  • international investments
  • legal advocacy
  • transnational law


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