Banoub, D. and Bridge, G. and Bustos, B. and Ertör, I. and González-Hidalgo, M. and de los Reyes, J. (2021) 'Industrial dynamics on the commodity frontier: managing time, space and form in mining, tree plantations and intensive aquaculture.', Environment and planning E : nature and space., 4 (4). pp. 1533-1559.
Research in political ecology and agrarian political economy has shown how commodity frontiers are constituted through the appropriation and transformation of nature. This work identifies two broad processes of socio-metabolism associated with commodity frontiers: the spatial extension of nature-appropriation, via expanding territorial claims to the control and use of natural resources and associated acts of dispossession (commodity-widening); and the intensification of appropriation at existing sites, through socio-technical innovation and the growing capitalisation of production (commodity-deepening). While sympathetic, we have reservations about reducing frontier metabolism to either one or the other of these processes. We argue for more grounded examinations of how non-human nature is actively reconstituted at commodity frontiers, attuned to the diverse and specific ways in which socio-ecological processes are harnessed to dynamics of accumulation. To achieve this, we compare strategies of appropriation in three sectors often associated with the commodity frontier: gold mining, tree plantations, and intensive aquaculture. In doing so, we bring research on capitalism as an ecological regime into conversation with work on the industrial dynamics of ‘nature-facing’ sectors. By harnessing the analytical categories of time, space and form adopted by research on industrial dynamics, we (i) show how strategies of commodity-widening and deepening are shaped in significant ways by the biophysical characteristics of these sectors; and (ii) identify a third strategy, beyond commodity-widening and deepening, that involves the active reconstitution of socio-ecological systems - we term this ‘commodity-transformation.’
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|Publisher Web site:||https://doi.org/10.1177/2514848620963362|
|Publisher statement:||This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).|
|Date accepted:||06 September 2020|
|Date deposited:||29 September 2020|
|Date of first online publication:||21 October 2020|
|Date first made open access:||29 September 2020|
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