Over the last decade, there have been considerable concerns raised regarding the social and environmental impacts of large-scale land concessions for plantation development in various parts of the world, especially in the tropics, including in Laos and Cambodia. However, there is still much to learn about the various connections and interactions associated with reactions to what are often referred to as “land grabs”, and the ways they are associated or not associated with broader social movements and networks opposed to land grabbing. There is also the need to develop language for discussing these circumstances, something I aim to contribute to in this article. Here, I present four different cases of types of resistance, or what I refer to as contingent contestations, to land concessions in southern Laos and northeastern Cambodia (two from each country), focusing on the perspectives and associated strategies of smallholder farmers, but without ignoring broader issues. I consider the roles of locals in these contestations, through emphasizing the importance of histories, identities/ethnicities, politics, and geography in determining the types of responses to these land deals that emerge, and the strategies that are adopted for contesting these developments.
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