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Speculative land grabs and Chinese investment: Cambodia’s evolving regime of dispossession

Loughlin, N. & Milne, S. (2024). Speculative land grabs and Chinese investment: Cambodia’s evolving regime of dispossession. Globalizations, pp. 1-19. doi: 10.1080/14747731.2024.2320494


This article uses the concept of ‘regimes of dispossession’ to explore how processes of land dispossession are evolving in Cambodia. Focusing on Preah Sihanouk province, which has received an influx of capital from China, we show empirically how non-productive and speculative land uses are thriving, resulting in frenzied and chaotic patterns of land grabbing. Our findings suggest a new phase in the recursive relationship between land control and the Cambodian state. Land previously occupied and farmed by rural villages is now being re-classified and re-packaged for private and non-productive purposes like real estate, tourism, and industrial investment that remain largely speculative, as international capital meets predatory state logics. We thus draw attention to how regimes of dispossession operate at a range of scales to shape how land is valued and grabbed, inviting comparative analysis between countries, particularly in the context of high levels of Chinese investment in the global south.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Publisher Keywords: Cambodia, Chinese investment, dispossession, speculation, authoritarianism
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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