Peer-Reviewed Publications

Ipsen, Annabel. 2017. “Dimensions of Power in Regulatory Regime Selection: Shopping, Shaping, and Staying.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers. (Feb 28 2017).

  • 2016, Student Paper Award, the Sociology of Agriculture and Food Interest Group, Rural Sociological Society (RSS).

Abstract: This article investigates the process through which transnational firms select and develop sites for their operations. I build a framework to understand how firms’ localization strategies not only entail a choice among regulatory regimes but how they also coproduce those regimes while responding to community resistance. My account is based on a multisited ethnography of two research and development hubs for the U.S. corn seed market. I compare two cases of firms’ localization strategies—one (Hawaii) in which firms are confronted by local actors who question GM crop safety and another (Puerto Rico) in which firms face little local opposition and, in fact, are lauded as economic engines of development. My work shows that firms’ success hinges on balancing a site’s natural endowments with its sociopolitical and regulatory constraints. I conceptualize localization as a multistep process of negotiating a regulatory regime with local institutions—not just shopping for the right environment but shaping it and actively taking actions to stay there. In proposing a power-sensitive approach to location and regulation theory, my work highlights sociohistorical patterns of inequality, contributing to our understanding of how corporate localization strategies affect local control over environmental governance.

Ipsen, Annabel. 2016. “Manufacturing a Natural Advantage: Capturing Technology Rents in the Genetically Modified Corn Seed Industry.” Environmental Sociology 2 (1): 41-52.

  • 2016, Genevieve Gorst Herfurth Award.
  • 2015, Student Paper Award, the Sociology of Agriculture and Food Interest Group, RSS.

Abstract: Despite the assumption that firms in high-tech sectors rely on technology to render nature obsolete, this article shows that technology has made nature and place paramount to the genetically modified (GM) corn seed industry. The present work focuses on research and development (R&D) stations for the top five firms, which control nearly 90% of the U.S. corn market. The main factors that influence firms’ selection of these sites and the role these hubs play in the productive process are identified. Drawing on ethnographic and archival data in the corn seed industry’s three main R&D hubs, Chile, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, the present study shows that competitiveness relies not only on biotechnology, but also on the place-based mechanisms that make that technology profitable. By locating R&D sites in particular natural and regulatory environments, firms are able to harness resource co-rents and place-based relational subrents. These enable firms to extract technology rents through intellectual property rights. This has implications not only for industry competitiveness, but also for power relations between firms, the state, and communities. Because firms draw profits by maximizing the climates and regulatory contexts in these places, they also become place-bound. This may be used by communities and local governments as a negotiating tool for better environmental and labor arrangements.

Reports and Other Publications

Ipsen, Annabel. “Mothers and sons: rethinking the feminization of work in the Uruguayan citrus industry.” Oxfam International Working Paper.

Ipsen, Annabel. 2010. “Ni peras ni manzanas: la transición de género en los puestos de trabajo en los empaques de cítricos en Uruguay.” Conference Publication, ALASRU, Brazil, November 2010.

Ipsen, Annabel. 2009. (Collaborator). World Investment Report: Transnational Corporations, Agricultural Production and Development. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Ipsen, Annabel. 2008. “Temporary work, labor practices and gender: a case study of the citrus industry in Argentina and Uruguay.” Oxfam Report. Oxfam: Santiago, Chile.

Publications in Progress

Ipsen, Annabel. “Transnational Firms and Local Social Movements: Struggling with the Law.”

Ipsen, Annabel. “Gender, technology, and skill in high-tech agriculture.”