Dissertation Abstracts

The Wider Vision of Social Policy: An Analysis of the Transformative Role of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme in Zvimba District (Zimbabwe)

Author: Tom Tom, grantomt@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: University of South Africa, South Africa
Supervisor: Jimi Adesina
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Transformative social policy , Land reform , Agrarian reform , Wider vision of social policy
Areas of Research: Social Transformations and Sociology of Development , Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy , Social Indicators


The thesis focuses on the social policy dimension of Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP). Interrogating land reform in the context of Transformative Social Policy (TSP) is a critical lacuna in Zimbabwe’s land reform; and dominant social policy literature, implying the absence of a wider vision of social policy. This vision emphasises the consideration of the five tasks of social policy (production, redistribution, reproduction, protection and social cohesion); and acknowledges the symbiotic link between social policy and development. The thesis asks, how did the FTLRP and land occupations unfold, what is the new agrarian structure and forms of social organisation in the aftermath of the fast track land reform, and how has the programme played out in relation to redistribution, production, social protection, reproduction and social cohesion. The thesis is based on a mixed methods design dominated by qualitative methods and complemented predominantly quantitative data gathered by the African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS), now Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (SMAIAS) are the bases of the study; and a sample of 150 A1 land beneficiaries drawn from (Dalkeith, Whynhill and St Lucia farms. Mixed methods were applied in the eight (8) months long ethnography. Using grounded empirical data and transcending ideological and epistemological debates, the thesis argues that despite shortcomings, land reform is a crucial social policy instrument that is essential in transforming lives. Across Zvimba district (in Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe), land is a core economic, social and political resource that is central in enhancing wellbeing. Diverse support services are essential and if the farmers are appropriately supported, the benefits of land reform are potentially immense.