Neoliberalisation from the Ground Up: Insurgent Capital, Regional Struggle, and the Assetisation of Land

Callum Ward, Erik Swyngedouw

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In this paper we argue that "assetisation" has been a central axis through which both neoliberalisation and financialisation have encroached in the post-Fordist era. We focus on the mobilisation of land as a financial asset in northwest England's former industrial heartlands, offering an account of how property developer the Peel Group came to dominate the land and port infrastructure of the region through aggressive debt-led expansion and, in particular, a hostile takeover of the Manchester Ship Canal for its land-bank. In doing so, we illustrate how the capture of resources, especially land, by private corporations has shaped both substance and process of neoliberalisation from the ground up. By focusing on transformative struggles over land we contribute to research agendas attempting to understand the systemically dispossessive nature of assetisation, its relationship to fictitious capital formation, and the way such neoliberalising transformations are produced through grounded and situated socio-spatial struggles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1097
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2018


  • Assetisation
  • Financialisation
  • Grounded political economy
  • Manchester Ship Canal
  • Neoliberalisation
  • Peel Group

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Urban Institute


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