P041
Farmland as investment in post-Soviet Eurasia: practices, coalitions, moralities

Convenors:
Oane Visser (International Institute of Social Studies (ISS))
Jana Lindbloom (Slovak Academy of Sciences)
Format:
Panels
Location:
M-649
Start time:
2 August, 2014 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This panel studies farmland investment by outsiders (foreigners, other 'strangers') investigating coalitions they build and opposition it generates. It analyses morality and justifications, and the creative use of the law and resources in enabling, reshaping or resisting land acquisitions.

Long abstract:

Global acquisitions of farmland, which go by names such as the 'land rush', 'land investment' or 'land grabbing' have been on the rise since the food crisis of 2007 and the financial crisis. While the 'land rush' has been the topic of active debate and research in e.g. Asia and Africa, the issue has been under the radar in post-socialist Europe. Nevertheless, a wide variety of investors ranging from West- European farmers, large national/international financial groups, and Gulf state investors have entered the Eastern European countryside. This panel studies investment in farmland in this region by outsiders (whether foreigners or other outsiders such as from outside the locality or outside agriculture). It will look at the coalitions those outsiders build (who they ally with) and what actors act in opposition when it comes to the practicalities of the investment endeavor, as well as at how these relations (coalitions, asymmetries) dynamically change over time. In addition we seek to analyse how 'investors' and other actors (such as brokers, local villagers) creatively make use of the law and state resources in enabling, mitigating, reshaping or resisting land acquisitions. An important topic constitutes morality and the justifications of investment behavior (and different forms of morality within & across boundaries of kinship, generation, community, nationality).