Widening and Deepening: Soy Expansions in a World-Historical Perspective
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
3rd World Congress of Environmental History
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
The paper traces the expansion and contraction of frontiers of global commodity chains in different world-historical contexts through the lens of soy. Commodity frontiers direct our attention, first, to the more or less contested places of incorporation into the space of the capitalist world-system and, second, to the intersection of society and environment in the accumulation of value along the commodity chain. Since capitalism depends on growth, frontier expansion thus is inherent to its development. We may distinguish between external frontiers as zones of the extensive incorporation (?widening?) of new spaces (e.g. through the conversion of grasslands into fields) and internal frontiers as zones of the more intensive incorporation (?deepening?) of already commodified spaces (e.g. through technological innovations). The spatio-temporal
contexts of soy production addressed in the paper include China, the United States, and Brazil from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. These cases are compared with regard to the following questions: First, which structural forces and actors? strategies drove soy expansion? Second, which role did soy play in the emerging networks of human and non-human elements? Third, how did soy expansion affect societies and their environments?