Rent shapes the millennial geography of struggles over land and its more than human affordances. Rent emerges as an attribute of private property entitlements that are pivotal to capital. Appropriated in the moment of distribution, rent is nevertheless fundamental to coordinating the flows of value through the moments of production, circulation and consumption. Assetization of land and its affordances enables the appropriation of rent through wide-ranging investments in real estate, infrastructure, agriculture and extractive industry, in turn impacting access to housing, livelihoods, food security and multispecies life. State agencies across the world are instrumental to facilitating these investments through direct consolidation of land, or through enabling legal frameworks. How do we understand the growing role of rent in millennial capitalist accumulation? Is there a fundamental contradiction between the moment of production and the moment of distribution that the rent relation engenders and must contain for ongoing accumulation? Are rentier appropriations new, or how are they specific to this historical conjuncture of accumulation? How do they unleash speculative spirals, financial crises, ghost cities and failed infrastructure projects across variegated contexts? What is their role in reinforcing inequalities (or enabling contingent solidarities) along race, caste, class, gender, ethnicity and other power differences? What lessons do contemporary struggles against dispossession, over land, housing, livelihoods, food security and multi-species life hold, for understanding the geography of rent? This seminar addresses some preliminary questions around the millennial geography of rent and accumulation.
Manuel Aalbers (KU Leuven)
Callum Ward (London School of Economics)
Preeti Sampat (Ambedkar University Delhi, USF International Fellow)
Kai Bosworth (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Alex Loftus (King’s College London)
Erik Swyngedouw (University of Manchester)