Infrastructures of Value

Infrastructures of Value

30. 03. 2023

Special Issue of Ethnos - Journal of Anthropology





We are excited to announce that our special issue "Infrastructures of Value" has just been published online by Ethnos - Journal of Anthropology.

We show how infrastructures and practices of infrastructuring shape the value of agricultural matter. Our ethnographic studies from Asia, Australia and Europe explore the financialization of land, terroir wine and its bottles, organic certification and alternative food networks as well as the interaction between agronomics and cold chains. Shifting attention from the social life of things to the infrastructure that undergirds their circulation, our approach to economic anthropology brings materiality to David Graeber's theory of value.

Video Abstract - Introduction: Infrastructuring Value from Taylor & Francis on Vimeo.

Exploring infrastructure has much to offer for economic anthropology. Inspired by the convergence of literatures on value and infrastructure in studies of financialisation, we develop the analytics of ‘infrastructures of value’ on old terrain: agriculture. Infrastructure facilitates valuation practices and enables valorisation as fixed capital. Material networks emerging from practices of infrastructuring also mediate value by facilitating, channelling, or hindering the circulation – movement, and metamorphoses – of objects, people and ideas. Shifting attention from the social life of things to the infrastructure undergirding their circulation fills a major gap in David Graeber’s theory of value: it directs attention to how actions become incorporated into larger wholes. Various infrastructures and the frictions between them shape value by connecting producers and consumers, separating contents, and communicating evidence of qualities of food. Ethnographic attention to this material relationality of value invigorates dialogue between new and historical materialism and challenges binaries in economic thought.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Infrastructuring Value by Christof Lammer & André Thiemann.

Infrastructures of Farmland Valuation in Australia by Sarah R. Sippel

Nature’s Value: Evidencing a Moldovan Terroir Through Scientific Infrastructures by Daniela Ana 

Peasant in a Bottle: Infrastructures of Containment for an Italian Wine Cooperative by Oscar Krüger

Valuing Organics: Labels, People, and the Materiality of Information Infrastructure in China by Christof Lammer

Infrastructuring ‘Red Gold’: Agronomists, Cold Chains, and the Involution of Serbia’s Raspberry Country by André Thiemann

Infrastructuring Value Worlds: Connections and Conventions of Capitalist Accumulation by Edward F. Fischer