The Rights to Land

Currently, we can observe a trend towards intensified and diversified processes of commodification and commercialisation of land resources. Commodification denotes processes where resources such as goods and services, but also ideas, are transformed into a commodity, and thus made marketable and open to commercialisation. Land resources have a multitude of uses, and a prerequisite to all uses are the rights to access and/or utilise the resources. Land resources are vital for a variety of economic and cultural activites such as (1) high quality pasture land, a pool for environmental goods, as raw materials for industries; (2) as instruments in national policies for coping with climate change and achieving commitments on biodiversity and nature management; (3) as resources for tourism and rural development in the experience economy, as well as for indigeneous and local uses linked to eg. fishing, hunting and recreation; and (4) as an arena and resource for wind and hydro power production and a renewed interest for mineral extraction. The use of land resources relies on various forms of land use rights or property rights. These are adapted from historic resource use, but it is not evident to what extent the institutional system they constitute is able to adapt to and sustainably manage contemporary commodification processes.

We welcome here a broad view of the of material and non-material land resources in the Nordic countries. Of particular interest is the interrelationship between current trends of intensification, diversification and privatisation of land use- and rights and the unsettlement of established formal and informal systems of land rights and use. We are also particularly interested in papers concerning the tensions between land resources as shared common goods and as private property.


Frode Flemsæter, Centre for Rural Research

Katrina Rønningen, Centre for Rural Research

Camilla Sandström, Department of Political Science, Umeå University



List of participants