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Assembling Export Markets: The Making and Unmaking of Global Food Connections in West Africa

ISBN: 978-1-118-63259-8
264 pages
March 2015, Wiley-Blackwell
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Description

Assembling Export Markets explores the new ‘frontier regions’ of the global fresh produce market that has emerged in Ghana over the past decade.
  • Represents a major and empirically rich contribution to the emerging field of the social studies of economization and marketization
  • Offers one of the first ethnographic accounts on the making of global commodity chains ‘from below’
  • Denaturalizes global markets by unpacking their local engagement, materially entangled construction, need for maintenance, and fragile character
  • Offers a trans-disciplinary engagement with the construction and extension of market relations in two frontier regions of global capitalism
  • Critically examines the opportunities and risks for firms and farms in Ghana entering global fresh produce markets
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Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Preface viii

Preface ix

Technical Remarks xi

List of Figures xii

List of Tables xiii

Abbreviations xiv

1 Introduction: Struggling with “World Market Integration” 1

Rethinking Global Connections 6

Grounding Commodity Chains: Geographies of Marketization 9

Matters of Concern 14

The Practical Means of Marketization 15

Marketization as Proliferation 16

Of Frontier Regions and Borderlands 16

How This Book Unfolds 17

2 Querying Marketization 21

Studying Markets as Practical Accomplishments 23

Markets as Sociotechnical Agencements 25

“Problems” of Market?]Making 29

Exchanging Goods the “Right” Way 31

Qualified Objectifications 32

Detachment/Calculation 35

Singularizations 36

Knowing and Doing Markets 37

From Market Knowledge to Knowing Markets 38

Power in/through Markets 39

Formatting Market Encounters 42

The Order(ing) of Markets 44

Conclusion 49

3 Remaking “the Economy”: Taking Ghanaian Horticulture to Global Markets 53

Models of Organizing “the Economy”: From Macro to Micro 56

A Tale of Two Frontiers 59

Markets for Development: Organic Mangoes in Northern Ghana 60

Fresh from Farm: JIT Pineapple Markets 66

Sites of Attention 71

Conclusion 74

4 Critical Ethnographies of Marketization 77

Researching Markets in the Making 79

Outside/Inside “the Market” 81

“Reconstructing” Market Practices 85

Technicalities? 86

Knowledge Production: Heuristics and Limitations 88

After “the Field”: Veni, Vidi, Vici? 90

Conclusion 92

5 The Birth of Global Agrifood Market Connections 94

Nothing Was Packaged for (High?]value) Export 97

Market Enrollment, Not Integration 98

The Messy Economics of Outgrowing 107

Market?]making as Boundary Work 108

Outflanking Nature? 113

The Terms of “World Market” Enrollment 115

Good(s) Connect(ions) 119

Having the “Right” Product 121

Performing the Audit Economy 122

Relational Properties of Competition 123

Ongoing Struggles for Retail Worth 124

The Orderings of JIT 125

Conclusion 126

6 Enacting Global Connections: The Making of World Market Agencies 131

Qualculating the Mango Tree 133

Indeterminate Framings of Worth 133

Struggling for the Agricola Oeconomicus 137

Responsibilizing/Autonomizing Farmers 140

Standardizing Market STAs 141

Standards and the Stubborn Social 147

Value/Power 149

Conclusion 151

7 Markets, Materiality, and (Anti?])Political Encounters 153

The Hidden Conditions of Global Markets 155

Powerful Valorimeters 157

Pricing, Returns, and Visible hands 159

Power Relations as Relations of Accounting 162

Accounting: Frontstage 165

Accounting: Backstage 166

Conclusion 171

8 Market Crises: When Things Fall Apart, or Won’t Come Together 174

A Model in Crisis 177

MD2 Takes Over the Market, or How Goods Become Delegitimated 178

Trading Down in Times of Crisis 183

Currency and Capital Volatilities 183

When the Supply Base Disenrolls … 184

Reassembling the Market Social? 187

Recalcitrant “Nature” and the Crisis of the Developmental Market 189

(Mis?])calculating “Nature” and other Surprises: Mango Trees as Precarious Commodities 191

Crisis Accounts 193

Regrouping 196

The Corporate Calculus of the Crisis 197

Fixing Yields: Contested Pathways of Qualification 198

Conclusion 201

9 Conclusion 205

Beyond Inclusion 209

“Market Modernity,” Alternatives, Critique 212

Beyond Agrifood: Profanizing Marketization 213

References 215

Index 232

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Author Information

Stefan Ouma is Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Geography at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. Being an economic geographer by training, he has worked extensively on global commodity chains, agrifood standards, smallholder agriculture, and contract farming in East and West Africa.

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Reviews

USA:
Annals of the American Association of Geographers
Economic Geography
Review of International Political Economy
Socio-Economic Review

ROW:
African Affairs
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Cambridge Journal for Regions, Economy and Society
Development and Change
Environment and Planning A
Economy and Society
Global Networks
Globalizations
Progress in Human Geography
Journal of Agrarian Change
Journal of Modern African Studies
Science and Technology Studies

‘In transparently clear prose, Stefan Ouma has written a wonderfully rich empirical account of how global markets for tropical fruit are made both materially and institutionally at the intersection of very particular local sites. The book is another terrific example of the usefulness of the theory of economic performativity that German economic geographers have increasingly honed and made their own.’ 
— Trevor Barnes, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia

‘In this provocative book, Ouma challenges the conventional wisdom of both market enthusiasts and critics. Through insights from across the social sciences, he shows how both market institutions and the persons who perform them always emerge from particular messy historical circumstances, creating different formats and distributions of power in different locations. Ouma’s ‘on the ground’ study offers a new and important approach to understanding markets.’
— Lawrence Busch, Department of Sociology, Michigan State University

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