Betting the Farm: Speculation, Regulation, and the Creation of a Global Farmland Market


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the role of international financial actors in the global rush to acquire farmland that began in 2007. The multi-cited ethnographic research involved interviews with investors and policy-makers in Brazil, Mozambique, and New York. It explores the cultural tensions that arise when traditional understandings of land, as a repository of cultural values and a symbol of national sovereignty, collide with a view of land as a financial asset. The project examines the historical antecedents to the current farmland investment boom before exploring the ways in which land is being constructed as a global commodity through government policies and investor discourses. This argument has implications for analyzing the interaction between financialization and increasing global resource scarcity in a variety of contexts.