What are the ties in between farming and finance?

An inquiry into the finance-driven land rush and the future of food and agriculture.

Arrows down

Institutional Landscapes

Following Global Money into the Countryside

Welcome to my research. Why and how has agriculture become a new “asset frontier” for global finance? On this website, users can follow the extension of global investment chains into the countrysides of the Global North and South alike. 

This website includes many findings from eight years of global research culminating in my book “Farming as Financial Asset – Global Finance and the Making of Institutional Landscapes”. It also contains additional research by me and other (invited) researchers concerned with the transformation of farmland, agricultural production and other parts of the agricultural value chain into financial assets. The website seeks to speak to a broad audience and aims at demystifying the operations of global asset management, activities that often appear as complex, opaque and technical. If you come across unfamiliar terms and concepts, click on Glossary in the footer menu. Or scroll through the key literature section in the footer menu of this homepage. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me.

The common thread running through this website is the notion of institutional landscapes. It refers to those parts of the human and non-human world that have become transformed into a financial asset, a property that yields an income stream and that can be resold in the future, as part of portfolio considerations of institutional investors. These, in turn, serve the needs of the more privileged ones in society. In other words, institutional landscapes are an expression of the expansion of a “global return society”, in which the reproduction of the better-off people of the Global North (and, increasingly, the Global South) has become tied to the reproduction of finance capital, both “at home” and abroad.  Often the roots of this capital lead right back into the “middle of society”.

Research Fields
Photograph. Source: Sigmund on Unsplash.

Pedagogical Strategy

The pedagogical strategy behind this platform is the ambition to ground the operations of global finance in concrete places, sites and activities, and to unpack the often-far-flung relations through which institutional landscapes come into being.

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Photograph. Source: iStock

Guest Contributions

This website offers space to fellow researchers, who discuss emerging perspectives on the making and unmaking of (agrarian) institutional landscapes worldwide. If you are interested in contributing, please contact me directly.

To the contributions

Latest Guest Contributions

26  June 2023

Anthropologist Julia Sizek’s account underlines the entangled nature of land and water speculation, with the Californian state playing a central role in this.

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14  May 2023

André Magnan and Annette Aurélie Desmarais show why obtaining and using land titles to study of changing farmland ownership patterns on the Canadian prairies hasn’t been easy.

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02 April 2023

Anitra Nelson engages with the social character of money, an “object” largely unquestioned in investment discourses.

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30 March 2023

Carla Gras and Andrea P. Sosa Varrotti revisit their work on agri-investments in Latin America.

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All Guest Contributions