Modernisation of Rural Economies - the Unsettlement of Land Use and Rights Following "Diversification"

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: Booth 61
Oral Presentation
Katrina RØNNINGEN , Centre for Rural Research, Centre for Rural Research, Trondheim, Norway
Frode FLEMSÆTER , Centre for Rural Research, Trondheim, Norway

A significant process of modernization is going on in the rural North. The paper presents some findings from a study of the implications of agricultural and rural policies’ emphasise on diversification through commodifying natural resources in which primary industries increasingly become a tertiary recreational and consumption deliverer. It also analyses how norms and practices of land use, land ownership and rights systems in the outfields and commons are unsettled and changing within a neoliberal context.

A strong increase in cabin/second home developments along with other developments – windmills, micro hydro power plants welcomed by the climate debate and systems of green certificates, has increased pressure on the land and escalated land use conflicts. Outfield commercialisation echoes widespread processes of enclosure and privatisation, which occur with regard to many kinds of commons.

One conclusion is that multifunctional agricultural policies and land use planning systems within a highly developed and modern country as Norway so far has not been able to handle the challenges of modernizing agricultural and rural economies in general and at the same time include long term sustainable land use systems (eg nomadic use by the increasingly marginalized South Sámis nor of that of wild reindeers) sufficiently in these processes, nor to secure the long term sustainable use of farm land and associated natural resources in other respects.

On the other hand, neo-productivism, associated with the  increased focus on the need to increase global and national food production, is redefining objectives and policies of the previous strong Norwegian and European multifunctional model of agriculture and rural areas. Also, the increased focus on the bedrocks of the high north for mineral, is pointing to a turn towards strengthened primary sector interests in rural areas, challenging many of the ideas and notions linked to modernization of agriculture and rural areas.