S1-B: »Landed Markets«: Commodification, Mobilization and Deterritorialization of Land in the Context of Asian Investment in African Land Markets

The growing worldwide demand for land has turned numerous African rural regions into a much-sought after commodity for global investments. The multi-methodological and plurilocal project S1-B »Landed Markets« addresses this process from a broad set of different angles ranging from disputed privatizations of collective land titles and the socio-technical establishment of formalized land markets to the rationales and strategies of Asian enterprises investing in African land:

  • Constructed Markets: How does the media produce and negotiate „FDI in Land / Land grabbing”? How do the discourses and normative legitimizations differ across national spaces in Africa, Asia and Europe?
  • Mobilizing Markets: How is land made mobile and transnational? What socio-technical investments see to it that land circulates between Asia and Africa?
  • Negotiating Markets: How do African and Asian actors negotiate land deals (social and political participation, rationales and legitimations, evaluation and pricing, bargaining power)?

On the African side the project will realize comparative studies in Benin, Cameroun and Madagascar. In those countries there are, among others, Malayan, Indian, Chinese, South-Korean and Japanese actors involved in the process of land acquisition for a variety of different reasons (food products, animal feed, industrial crops and energy crops). Is this dynamic opening up new spaces for South-South cooperation and postcolonial development trajectories or does it rather stabilize neo-colonial structures of dependency? In addition to their presence in Africa the role of Asian investors is also analyzed through case studies in Asia, especially the often neglected example Japan.

Research methods include discourse analysis, the participant observation, qualitative interviews and critical cartography. These cartographic techniques are used to visualize subjective perceptions of land and resources by the different groups involved in land deals in order to identify potential lines of conflict. At the same time, “official cartographic representations” of national and international organizations, of investment corporations are being analyzed to de- and reconstruct the socio-technological production and techno-political definition of the quality, availability and use of resources.

Involvierte AFRASO Mitglieder: 


AFRASO Publications

Kersting, Philippe ; 2013 ; Sino-afrikanische Beziehungen im Agrarbereich. Gibt es ein chinesisches land grabbing in Afrika? ; Chinas Expansion in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern (Veröffentlichungen des Interdisziplinären Arbeitskreises Dritte Welt) ; Meyer, G., Muno, W. & Brand, A. ; Interdisziplinären Arbeitskreis Dritte Welt
Kersting, P., Hoffmann, K. W. ; 2013 ; Landgeschäfte zwischen Chance (land investment) und Risiko (land grabbing) ; Geographie und Schule ; 201, 35 ; 11-20
Kersting, Philippe ; 2013 ; La Chine est-elle un acteur majeur de l’accaparement des terres en Afrique?Passerelles ; Passerelles ; ICTSD ; Volume 14, Numéro 4 ; http://ictsd.org/downloads/passerelles/passerelles14-4.pdf
Berndt, Christian, Boeckler, Marc ; 2016 ; Behave, global south! Economics, experiments, evidence. ; Geoforum ; 70 ; 22–26

Talks and Lectures

Marc Boeckler ; What's in a Region? ; Friday, June 7, 2013 ; Bayreuth
Kersting, Philippe ; Marginal Lands als strategisches (Un)Sichtbarmachen von Ressourcen ; Saturday, June 29, 2013 ; Frankfurt a.M.
Kersting, Philippe ; Lang Grabbing in Westafrika - Ein Beitrag zur Nahrungsmittelsicherheit? ; Friday, October 4, 2013 ; Passau
Kersting, Philippe ; Land Grabbing in Afrika - Ein Kontinent wird neu verteilt ; Monday, November 4, 2013 ; Passau
Kersting, Philippe ; Afrikanisches Land - Eine asiatische Option? ; Tuesday, June 4, 2013 ; Goethe-Universität Frankfurt