Values—whether financial profit or moral and social values such as justice and sustainability—often appear as abstract and intangible. Infrastructure allows us to explore the materiality of seemingly immaterial value.
The special issue “Infrastructures of Value: New and Historical Materialities in Agriculture” (Ethnos – Journal of Anthropology), edited by Christof Lammer (Klagenfurt) and André Thiemann (Prague) shows how infrastructures and practices of infrastructuring shape value of agricultural matter. Ethnographic studies from Australia, China, Moldova, Serbia and Italy examine land’s financialization, terroir wine and its bottles, eco-certification and alternative food networks as well as the interaction between agronomics and cold chains. As material networks, infrastructures facilitate, channel, or hinder circulation—the metamorphoses as well as movement of objects, people, non-human beings and ideas. In doing so, they mediate value: they give actions and their products importance and relevance by materially integrating them into larger wholes. Thereby, this approach brings attention to materiality to David Graeber’s theory of value. The exploration of infrastructures of value thus offers new perspectives for thinking about the production, appropriation and distribution of material wealth.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Infrastructuring Value* by Christof Lammer & André Thiemann
Infrastructures of Farmland Valuation in Australia* by Sarah R. Sippel
(Articles marked with * are open access.)
Christof Lammer is a social anthropologist and postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Science, Technology and Society Studies (STS) at the University of Klagenfurt.