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Critical Perspectives on the Financialisation of Nature – Theory, Politics and Practice

19th March 2015 @ 1:00 pm - 20th March 2015 @ 5:00 pm

University of Sussex, 19-20th March 2015

Hosted by the Centre for Global Political Economy & STEPS Centre

Update (2 March 2015): A public roundtable on this topic will be held in Brighton on 19 March, with contributions from Melissa Leach, Hannah Mowat, Larry Lohman, Antonio Tricarico and Bram B├╝scher.

Download the conference programme (PDF)

Carbon markets in China, fishery bycatch offsetting in Canada, catastrophe bonds in the US, weather derivatives in Ethiopia, betting on species extinction such as Norwegian sharks…

These are just a few examples of the commodification, marketisation and financialisation of nature. In what ways can we best make sense of these developments? What practical, political and theoretical innovations will allow us to better understand them, engage with them and contest them?

We invite participants from any discipline to a 1.5 day intensive workshop bringing together doctoral and early career researchers to discuss, theorise and critically reflect on the practical and political implications of the commodification, marketisation and financialisation of nature. Papers should focus on questions including (but not limited to):

  • What are the challenges, contradictions and limits that arise from the creation of these new forms of market-based environmental products and services?
  • What are the new materialities and commodities of nature that are created through these novel forms of governance?
  • How do these processes change the way we relate to nature, govern nature, live in nature and indeed are governed by nature?
  • How does the marketisation or financialisation of nature relate to other forms of accumulation and the wider political economy?
  • What kinds of (new) power relations are (re)produced through the making of environmental markets, and what social and environmental justice issues are brought to light or develop in response to these (neoliberal?) phenomena?

Participants will be required to submit full papers in advance of the workshop and are expected to read each other’s work beforehand to enable in-depth engagement with one another’s arguments. The sessions will be chaired by academics working in the field who will also provide feedback on papers. Moreover, the workshop will bring together activists and academics for a panel discussion, reflecting on the interlinkages between activism and research on the financialisation of nature.


Presenters will include:

Confirmed speakers

  • Prof James Fairhead (Chair in Social Anthropology, University of Sussex)
  • Larry Lohmann (The Corner House)
  • Hannah Mowat (FERN)
  • Prof Peter Newell (STEPS/Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex)
  • Prof Ian Scoones (STEPS/Institute of Development Studies)

Invited speakers (tbc)

  • Jutta Kill
  • Prof John O’Neill
  • Catherine Corson

Registration is free and food will be provided. We have some funding for accommodation and travel for a limited number of doctoral researchers. Details about applying for this funding will be sent out once abstracts have been selected.

This event is financially supported by Sussex University’s Doctoral School’s Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) fund.

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19th March 2015 @ 1:00 pm
20th March 2015 @ 5:00 pm
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University of Sussex
United Kingdom

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