CFP AAG 2017: American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, 
April 5-9
Financializing Rural Geographies

Miles Kenney-Lazar (Clark University)
Kelly Kay (London School of Economics)

Financialization – commonly understood as “a pattern of accumulation in which 
profits accrue primarily through financial channels rather than through trade 
and commodity production” (Krippner 2005: 174) – has become an important theme 
for urban and economic geographers, particularly since the 2008 financial crash 
(Pike and Pollard 2010, French et al. 2011, Christophers 2015). Nature-society 
geographers have also increasingly studied the ways in nature becomes enrolled 
in processes of financialized capital accumulation, with regard to agriculture 
and food provisioning (Isakson 2014), the purchasing and leasing of rural lands 
(Fairbairn 2014, Ouma 2016), the extraction and production of oil (Labban 
2010), conservation (Sullivan 2013), and carbon offsets (Knox-Hayes 2013).

Despite increasing recognition of the role that finance plays in nature-society 
relations under capitalism, there has been less examination of how finance 
actually interacts with rural geographies, particularly rural lands and 
resources. Scholars in rural geography have written extensively about how 
changes to the global economy have led to diverse forms of rural restructuring 
across the Global North, altering rural economies, communities, identities, and 
livelihoods. This work has largely overlooked finance, focusing instead on 
rural gentrification and amenity migration (Darling 2005, Walker and Fortmann 
2003), changing markets and discourses surrounding agriculture (McDonagh 2013, 
Marsden 2013), and post-productivism and the growth of rural economies based on 
tourism and environmental conservation (McAreavy and McDonagh 2011, Che 2006). 
Similarly, much research has examined the politics of displacement and 
dispossession in the Global South related to “global land grabbing” (Borras et 
al. 2011, Wolford et al. 2013). Yet, apart from a few notable exceptions (e.g. 
Fairbairn 2014, Ouma 2016), much of this work has not engaged with the role 
that financial institutions, such as pension funds, hedge funds, and sovereign 
wealth funds, have played in bankrolling or directly acquiring land.

In this session, we seek contributions that investigate how finance is engaging 
with, transforming, and seeking to accumulate capital from rural geographies 
and environments. We are particularly interested in work that examines 
financial interactions with rural land and resources. We invite theoretically 
innovative and empirically driven papers that examine a wide range of themes 
concerning how rural spaces are financialized, across both the Global South and 
North. These themes include, but are not limited to:

-The role of finance in generating dispossession in rural areas
-How capital is actually accumulated in rural spaces via financial channels
-The relationships between financialization, property, and rent in rural places
-The ways in which financialization of rural geographies leads to industrial 
restructuring and to changing work and livelihood opportunities
-The racial, ethnic, and gendered dimensions of financialized rural geographies
-The politics of contesting the financialization of rural geographies

If interested in participating in this session, please send your paper abstract 
to Miles Kenney-Lazar ( and Kelly Kay 
( by October 10, 2016. We will notify participants by October 
13, 2016.

Borras, S.M., R. Hall, I. Scoones, B. White, and W. Wolford. 2011. Towards a 
better understanding of global land grabbing: An editorial introduction. The 
Journal of Peasant Studies, 38(2): 209–216.
Che, D. 2006. Developing ecotourism in First World, resource-dependent areas. 
Geoforum, 37(2): 212–226.
Christophers, B. 2015. The limits to financialization. Dialogues in Human 
Geography, 5(2): 183–200.
Darling, E. 2005. The city in the country: wilderness gentrification and the 
rent gap. Environment and Planning A, 37(6): 1015–1032.
Fairbairn, M. 2014. ‘Like gold with yield’: Evolving intersections between 
farmland and finance. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 41(5): 777–795.
French, S., A. Leyshon, and T. Wainwright. 2011. Financializing space, spacing 
financialization. Progress in Human Geography, 35(6): 798–819.
Isakson, S.R. 2014. Food and finance: The financial transformation of agro-food 
supply chains. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 41(5): 749–775.
Krippner, G.R. 2005. The financialization of the American economy. 
Socio-Economic Review, 3: 173–208.
Labban, M. 2010. Oil in parallax: Scarcity, markets, and the financialization 
of accumulation. Geoforum, 41(4): 541–552.
Marsden, T. 2013. From post-productionism to reflexive governance: Contested 
transitions in securing more sustainable food futures. Journal of Rural 
Studies, 29: 123–134.
McAreavey, R., & McDonagh, J. 2011. Sustainable rural tourism: Lessons for 
rural development. Sociologia ruralis, 51(2): 175–194.
McDonagh, J. 2013. Rural geography I: Changing expectations and contradictions 
in the rural. Progress in Human Geography 37(5): 712–720.
Ouma, S. 2016. From Financialization to Operations of Capital: Historicizing 
and Disentangling the Finance-Farmland Nexus. Geoforum, 72: 82–93.
Pike, A. and J. Pollard. 2010. Economic Geographies of Financialization. 
Economic Geography, 86(1): 29–51.
Walker, P.A., & Fortmann, L. 2003. Whose landscape? A political ecology of the 
‘exurban’ Sierra. cultural geographies, 10(4): 469–491.
Wolford, W., S.M. Borras, R. Hall, I. Scoones, and B. White. 2013. Governing 
global land deals: The role of the state in the rush for land. Development and 
Change, 44(2): 189–210.

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