Brian Kuns

Brian Kuns

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Works at Department of Human Geography
Telephone 08-674 78 76
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 8
Room X 340
Postal address Kulturgeografiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm


My teaching, thus far, has most involved running GIS labs for beginning students, but I have also been course-coordinator “kursansvarig” for a course entitled Development, Globalization and the Environment (Utveckling, globalisering and miljö).


The aim of my research is to map changing crop cover and changing intensities of agricultural production in southern Ukraine. I do this, first, with rapid rural appraisal, followed by in-depth interviews with land-users and participant observation. Secondly, I intend to map changing production intensity and crop cover through remote sensing methods. The results, I argue, can help comprehend the capitalist transformation underway in Ukrainian agriculture.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • Article Beyond Coping
    2016. Brian Kuns. Sociologia Ruralis

    This paper empirically investigates rural, small-scale household farming in post-Soviet southern Ukraine, focusing on a particular group of households that have managed to intensify their production beyond subsistence without help from large farms. Large-farm support for small-scale household agricultural production in the former Soviet Union is generally considered necessary for small-scale household farming, so the absence of this support is noteworthy. The conditions of this intensification are explored and mapped out. Further, this intensification is related to discussions in the peasant study literature on the general viability of intensive smallholder production. While the investigated farms do present some sustainability concerns, this paper concludes that this production is not less viable than large-scale agricultural production. The main future challenge is how upcoming agrarian reforms will affect smallholders, particularly with respect to formalising informal resource use. 

  • 2016. Brian Kuns, Oane Visser, Anders Wästfelt. Journal of Rural Studies 45, 199-217

    Situated in the global discussion on large-scale land acquisitions, this paper examines the poor performance of Nordic owned, publicly traded, very large-scale farms (agroholdings) in Russia and Ukraine. In depth study of concrete examples of this emerging farm organization is still rare. This paper investigates the impact of the financialization of agriculture on the performance, agricultural and otherwise, of such farm companies, which is also an emerging field of inquiry. In other words, this paper seeks to go beyond discussion of land-grabbing and return to an older question concerning large-scale farming in developing country settings: is it even successful? In unique, exploratory research, the authors have gone inside these companies through interviews and attending shareholder meetings. Also, the authors have examined the discourse found in press accounts and corporate documents, the latter an underutilized source in research on corporate mega-farms. We find that finance, usually asserted as an advantage for such large-scale farms, proved in important respects to be incompatible with farming in the investigated companies, as it led to the initial prioritization of short-term speculative strategies over longer-term production-oriented strategies. We further find that investors initially failed to appreciate the unique climatic and other local challenges presented by agriculture, compared to other economic endeavors. Finally we note that these corporations are struggling to demonstrate economies of scale. Our results suggest that, unless conditions change, stock market financed large-scale farming companies are unlikely to play an important role in future direct food production in the region.

  • 2014. Martina Angela Caretta, Brian Kuns, Natasha Webster. Geografiska Notiser 72 (2), 116-127
Show all publications by Brian Kuns at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 15, 2018

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