Transactions FROM THE Institute Of British Geographers

The so‐called global land hurry has attracted new attention to land, its uses and value. But land is a strange object. Though it is treated as something and sometimes as a commodity often, it is not like a mat: you cannot roll it up and take it away. To show it to successful use requires regimes of exclusion that differentiate reputable from illegitimate uses and users, and the inscribing of limitations through devices such as fences, name deeds, laws, areas, regulations, landmarks, and story‐lines.

Its very ‘resourceness’ is no intrinsic or natural quality. It really is an assemblage of materialities, relationships, technologies, and discourses which have to be pulling and made to align together. To render it invisible, more work is needed. This Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers Plenary Lecture uses an analytic of assemblage to examine the practices that define land as a source.

It focuses especially on the ‘statistical picturing’ devices and other visual forms that make large‐scale investments in land thinkable, and the practices through which relevant actors (experts, investors, villagers, governments) are enrolled. It also considers some of the risks that follow when these large‐scale investments land in particular places, as land they need to.

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