The Unauthorised Biography of Globalised Commodity Chains

Focusing on the Brazilian Amazon, this project explores how illicit labour and resource exploitation contribute to contemporary commodity trades as a system of global (dis)order.
Project status

Research contends that institutional optimism for development, growth and poverty alleviation through finance and globalised value chains routinely omits how illicit forms of labour and natural resource exploitation are integral to contemporary commodity trades.

This study focuses on two sites of land invasion, occupation and resource extraction in Brazil's Amazon, and the mineral and timber trades that link these sites to ports and markets in the UK, European Union and Switzerland. It does so to explore:

1) The “disorderly” relationships in new extractive zones that transform illegally grabbed value into regulated and “ordered” market relations across borders.

2) How new authoritarian modes of governance and market-oriented regulatory norms validate the often violent means by which new areas are brought into production, by which labour is rendered vulnerable, and indigenous dispossession is accelerated.

3) Pathways towards new local, state and transnational mechanisms for territorial and value chain governance.

Principal Investigator: Dr Brian Garvey, University of Strathclyde

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