Pedagogical Approach

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. Among others, the journey will take us to a former socialist state farm in Tanzania turned into a private equity-asset or to New Zealand dairy farms taken over by asset management firms to ‘create value’ for retail investors on the other side of the world. By unravelling such global value relations, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture: 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. Indeed, today a wide range of social, economic and ecological domains can become part of institutional landscapes and thus financial ‘assets’. Agriculture is only one of the more recent targets of asset class making, albeit one with old (and often underacknowledged) ties to operations of global finance.