Coupling Through Nature: Resource-Making in Natural Gas Production Networks in Peru and Bolivia

Authors: Felipe Irarrázaval*, University of Manchester
Topics: Economic Geography, Natural Resources, Latin America
Keywords: Global Production Networks; Resource-making; Economic linkages; Enclave economies; Natural Gas;
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: 8201, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The inter-firm coupling between global networks and local economies at resource peripheries does not follow the same patterns that other economic sectors. The transformation of nature into commodities entails the involvement of a larger frame of social relations which are articulated through nature for enabling the socio-political definition of specific non-human components as resources. By articulation through nature, I refer to the relational interaction of social relations for transforming nature into commodities and the biophysical properties of nature which also shape how social relations do operate for commodifying nature. Such condition has been overlooked by the literature about global production networks on extractive industries which uncritically extend the GPN heuristics to analyse commodity source regions. This paper shows how the articulation of social relations through nature – defined as the resources-making process – is essential to understand the coupling between natural gas lead firms and local economies. More specifically, this paper shows how state involvement, market development and infrastructure are essential dimensions which critically outline the baseline for the development of industry-specific suppliers. By means of a relational comparative analysis between Bolivia and Peru, I show how the resources-making process set up conditions for the development of industry-specific suppliers in Bolivia, while in Peru just led to multi-industry suppliers. This distinction is essential because the formers capture more economic rent while the later remain as marginal players on the industry. Thus, the resources-making process is not relevant for studying inter-firm dynamics but for analysing how GPNs are producing uneven development

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