Grounding the Financialization of Farmland: Perspectives on Financial Actors as New Land Owners in Rural Australia
Dr. Sarah Ruth Sippel (U Leipzig), Dr. Nicolette Larder (U New England), and Prof. Geoffrey Lawrence (U Queensland)
|Publication Date||June 2017|
|Publisher||Springer Verlag (Halle/Saale, Germany)|
|Publication||Agriculture and Human Values 34/2 (2017): 279–291.|
Sparked by the conjunction of food, fuel, and financial crises, there has been an increasing awareness in recent years of the scarce and finite character of natural resources. Productive resources such as agricultural land have been touted by financial actors – such as merchant banks, pension funds, and investment companies – as providing the basis for a range of new “alternative” financial asset classes and products. While the drivers, motives, and rationales behind the increasing interest of turning farmland into a financial asset class have been traced by a number of scholars, the interpretations of, and interactions with, financial actors at the community level have received less attention. Based on qualitative research in rural Australia, this paper reveals the grounds on which finance-backed investments have been accepted and accommodated by communities in rural Australia and delineates the reasons that have led to feelings of unease or refusal. The paper thereby demonstrates that the financialization of farmland is neither abstract nor one-sided but rather a multidimensional process that not only includes financial actors but also the impacted rural populations in various ways. Positioning the activities of financial actors in Australia within the emerging research on the financialization of farmland, the paper endorses context-sensitive analyses to better interpret these recent transformations of the agri-food system.
Keywords: Financialization of farmland, Rural landownership change, Community perspectives, Australia
Source: Springer, Link (18 July 2017)
Dr. Sarah Ruth Sippel (Institute of Anthropology & SFB 1199, U Leipzig, Germany)
Sarah Ruth Sippel studied Middle Eastern studies and philosophy (Leipzig, Germany and Aix-en-Provence, France) and received her PhD in geography (Leipzig). In her PhD dissertation she combined a global agri-food systems perspective with various approaches to human and livelihood security in order to investigate processes of social differentiation in Moroccan export agriculture. Her current research project addresses the diverse imaginations of land through the lens of Australia’s increasing agricultural ties to the Gulf States and China.
Dr. Nicolette Larder (School of Behavioral, Cognitive and Social Sciences, U New England, Australia)
Nicolette Larder is a researcher at the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences at the University of New England (Australia). She has conducted research in Australia, Mali, Senegal, the UK, and Germany and she is trained in qualitative research approaches including extended fieldwork and cross-cultural research. Her current research projects explore the changing nature and character of agriculture in Australia as practised by investment banks, sovereign wealth funds, and private equity firms, with a particular focus on the motivations and changing labour relations associated with financialization.
Prof. Geoffrey Lawrence (School of Social Science, U Queensland, Australia)
Geoff Lawrence is a leading Australian sociologist with interests in rural and regional sociology, globalization, localization and agri.food research. Prior to accepting the position of professor of sociology and head of the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2002, he was a foundation professor of sociology (1992–2002) and the executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Regional Development (1998–2002) at the Central Queensland University (Australia).