RC-40 pre-conference session: Tuesday 25th June 10.00-15.00

Venue: Clarion Hotel & Congress. Conference room  «Vega»

Convenors: Hilde Bjørkhaug: hilde.bjorkhaug@ruralis.no, Reidar Almås, Ruralis- Institute for rural and regional research, Steven Wolf, Cornell University

Financialization is the increased influence of financial actors and logics on social and economic life, and is one of the key drivers transforming food systems and rural economies around the world. Actions of financial actors, and their financial logics, are transforming agri-food systems in profound ways. It is shown that although financialization is a powerful dynamic, some recent developments suggest that the rollout of financialization is contradictory and uneven in different spaces and markets.

A recent book[1] revealed that financialized economic activities are not only being deployed by financial institutions, but also by national and private investment funds (SWFs) and state-backed organizations, for commercial purposes, for development, and for aid, among a host of other purposes. The 2008 food crisis changed agri-food policy rhetoric, turning what was previously considered ‘hidden’ protectionist policies of some Northern states into ‘food security’ discourse, where attempts were made to ensure a secure food supply in the face of global uncertainties. Some states have actively appropriated farmland abroad, while countries with food surpluses have supported financialization – within neoliberal globalization – as a mechanism to sell greater volumes of food in the global marketplace. Either way, the farming and food sectors have remained very attractive sites for investment.

Financialization of the agri-food system raises many ethical and moral questions. When nation states help to facilitate financialization it is important that they weigh up impacts upon small and medium scale farms and food businesses and those who occupy lands (either legally or illegally). The poor and least powerful can readily become more marginalized as financialization proceeds.

The proposed RC-40 mini-conference/pre-conference session invites scholars to give short presentations of current finacialisation research. The planned presentation format will be combined with generous time dedicated to open discussions on 1) the contours and impacts of the current, financialized, global agri-food system 2) urgent challenges and 3) future research needs.

[1] Bjørkhaug, H., A. Magnan & G. Lawrence (2018) The Financialization of Agri-Food Systems Contested Transformations. Routledge.

RC-40 pre-conference session

Time Title Author
10.00 Welcome to the RC-40 pre-conference session
1 10.10 Agriculture as Financial Asset: Global Money and the Making of Institutional Landscapes’ Stefan Ouma

Department of Human Geography
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main





10.30 Farmland values: media and public discourses around farmland investment in Canada and Australia Andre Magnan

Department of Sociology and Social Studies

University of Regina, Canada



3 10.50 Who actually are their allies? Gate-openers, counter-local actions, and paradoxes of financialized agriculture Jana Lindbloom

Institute for Sociology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia



4 11.10 The financiers gaze on the “future farmer”– How financial actors generate farming futures and the futures they generate


Egon Noe, University of Southern Denmark, ENOE@SAM.SDU.DK

Martin Thorsøe, Aarhus University



5 11.30 A comparative analysis of financial subjectivities guiding agricultural financialization


Mikelis Grivinsa, Martin Hvarregaard Thorsøeb, Damian Mayec

aBaltic Studies Centre, mikelis.grivins@gmail.com

bAarhus University, martinh.thorsoe@agro.au.dk

cCountryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI),



11.50 Discussion
12.00 Lunchbreak
6 12.40 Mapping farmland ownership in Australia: Corporate, state and institutional capital investments since 2008



Kiah Smith, Geoffrey Lawrence and Zannie Langford

School of Social Science, The University of Queensland k.smith2@uq.edu.au


7 13.00 Money with meaning – Emerging modes of ownership and investment in Danish farming


Martin Thorsøe* and Egon Noe^,

* Aarhus University. martinh.thorsoe@agro.au.dk

^University of Southern Denmark, ENOE@SAM.SDU.DK


8 13.20 A Better Way to do Business: Supply Management in Canada as a  Reflection of Food Sovereignty and Security


Bruce Muirhead and Jodey Nurse-Gupta

University of Waterloo, Canada



9 13.40 Private Equity takeovers in the Nordic Food Sector. Reidar Almås

Ruralis, Trondheim Norway



10 14.00 Institutional investment and multi-functional landscapes Steven Wolf

Cornell University, USA


11 14.20 Moral, Ethics and Sustainability in Finacialisation: Examples from public investments Jostein Brobakk* and Hilde Bjørkhaug*^

*Ruralis, Trondheim Norway


^Dep sociology and political science NTNU, Norway


12 14.40 Discussion
15.00 End