Dr Mark Vicol


Biographical details

Mark is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Geosciences. He completed his PhD in human and economic geography at the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney in 2016. His PhD thesis, titled Potatoes, Peasants and Livelihoods: A Critical Exploration of Contract Farming and Agrarian Change in Maharashtra, India, explores the implications of contract farming for rural livelihoods and agrarian change in India, based on intensive fieldwork in three rural villages in India in 2013 and 2014. Mark’s interest in the geography of rural development began in his undergraduate years at the Australian National University, from which he holds a Bachelor of Arts (Development Studies) and a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) with First Class Honours. His honours thesis involved fieldwork in rural NSW, where he investigated a community’s response and adaptation to economic and environmental changes. His other interests include learning Burmese, and spending as much time as possible in the surf.

Research interests

Mark’s research focuses on the intersections between rural livelihoods and agrarian change in South and Southeast Asia. As a geographer, Mark places emphasis on integrative approaches to understanding patterns of change at the intersections of micro-scale rural livelihoods and macro-scale economic and social structures. Mark’s research interests include the changing relationships between land, agriculture and rural livelihoods; the livelihood implications for rural households of the spread of modern agricultural global value chains, and the role of agricultural value chains in rural development; the relationship between changing livelihood patterns and food security/food sovereignty, and broader political economy questions about land and the future of small farmers and agriculture in the region.

Current projects

Mark is currently involved in two research projects as a postdoctoral research associate. The first is a two year ARC funded household food security project in Myanmar, exploring the intersections between household livelihood strategies and food and nutrition security indicators. The project involves a large-scale household food security and livelihoods survey in 120 villages across three regions of Myanmar, as well as detailed qualitative follow-up household interviews in selected case study villages. The project will generate significant data about food security and livelihood patterns in each region, as well as important insights into the relationships between land, livelihoods, food security and broader patterns of agrarian change at a significant moment in the history of Myanmar.

The second project is an ACIAR funded study of coffee and cocoa value chains in Indonesia. Mark’s role in this project involves addressing questions about the livelihood implications of smallholder farmer engagement with specialty coffee value chains, as well as the farm-level impacts of sustainability standards and certification schemes in Arabica coffee value chains.

In the media

Vicol, Mark (2016, July 15). 'Playing with Fire: Burning lands and fragile livelihoods in the hills of Myanmar's southern Chin State', New Mandala.http://www.newmandala.org/playing-with-fire/

Vicol, Mark (2017, March 18). 'Feeding Myanmar' interview for Myanmar Musings podcast,https://soundcloud.com/myanmar-musings/feeding-myanmar

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Pritchard, W., Vicol, M., Jones, R. (2017). How does the ownership of land affect household livelihood pathways under conditions of deagrarianization? 'Hanging in', 'stepping up' and 'stepping out' in two north Indian villages. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. [More Information]
  • Vicol, M. (2017). Is contract farming an inclusive alternative to land grabbing? The case of potato contract farming in Maharashtra, India. Geoforum, 85, 157-166. [More Information]
  • Vicol, M. (2014). Potato contract farming and 'privileged spaces': preliminary insights from rural Maharashtra. Die Erde, 145(3), 142-147. [More Information]

Conferences

  • Vicol, M. (2015). Corporatisation of rural spaces: Contract farming as local scale land grabs in Maharashtra, India. Land grabbing, conflict and agrarian-environmental transformations: perspectives from East and Southeast Asia, Netherlands: BRICS Initiatives for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS).

2017

  • Pritchard, W., Vicol, M., Jones, R. (2017). How does the ownership of land affect household livelihood pathways under conditions of deagrarianization? 'Hanging in', 'stepping up' and 'stepping out' in two north Indian villages. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. [More Information]
  • Vicol, M. (2017). Is contract farming an inclusive alternative to land grabbing? The case of potato contract farming in Maharashtra, India. Geoforum, 85, 157-166. [More Information]

2015

  • Vicol, M. (2015). Corporatisation of rural spaces: Contract farming as local scale land grabs in Maharashtra, India. Land grabbing, conflict and agrarian-environmental transformations: perspectives from East and Southeast Asia, Netherlands: BRICS Initiatives for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS).

2014

  • Vicol, M. (2014). Potato contract farming and 'privileged spaces': preliminary insights from rural Maharashtra. Die Erde, 145(3), 142-147. [More Information]

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