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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Centre for International Relations Research (CIRR) Chair Group on History and Theory of International Relations Research themes Sheep, wool, landscape and connectivity

Theoretical considerations

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Obrador Xisqueta, Consorzio Escaroun, Herdy
Obrador Xisqueta, Consorzio Escaroun, Herdy

Three sets of theoretical considerations about markets, technology and materiality are central to the development of the 'Sheep, wool, landscape and connectivity' project.

Firstly, markets are regarded increasingly as complex assemblages whose construction and proper functioning depends upon agreement to social and cultural conventions. The notion of assemblage refers here to the understanding of structures and networks as collections of heterogeneous components and the status of all components is regarded as qualitatively indifferent. Furthermore, the nature and value of objects traded in these complex sites is determined over the course of negotiations with alternative systems of social and cultural organisation.

Secondly, current discussion of bio-technology and its transformative effects has focused on the separation of vital potential, sometimes labelled as life itself, from the historical specificity of organic form and its ecological context, and on the way in which such separation facilitates the commodification and integration of the resultant bio-capital into a global, speculative bio-economy. Geo-political considerations about the organisation of bio-economic structures also suggest, however, that the dislocating effects of transformation are sometimes accompanied by investment in the preservation and valorisation of local forms of life and ecological specificity. If the development of such bio-heritage can be regarded as reconfiguring local specificity into new commodities to be traded on the same global market, the articulation of the bio-economy would then seem to involve the management of relationships between orthogonal processes of geo-political transformation and temporal immobilisation, and such management would seem to be key to the production of economic value.

Thirdly and finally, the process of materialisation facilitates the commodification of bio-heritage, by enabling the translocation of the affective relationships that are involved in the attachment to local forms of life and their ecological specificity. The evolution of bio-economic structures then also offers an opportunity to examine the contribution of novel forms of philosophical materialism to improving the understanding of assemblages and their transformative dynamics.

Last modified:21 February 2017 4.22 p.m.