Contesting Global Production Networks of Fur: Spaces of Commodification, Valuation and Dissociation

Authors: Jana Kleibert*, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Martin Hess*, University of Manchester
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: global production networks, fur, value, contestation, ethical consumption, dissociation
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

Fur is a highly contested commodity, yet constitutes a growing global market. Global production networks of fur are premised upon the commodification of nature in the form of animal skins. The materiality of the commodity lies at the heart of political contestation by consumers and civil society groups, such as animal rights activists. While there is already a considerable body of work on ethical consumption and environmental governance and in/of GPNs (cf. Hughes et al. 2008, 2017; Havice and Campling 2018), we argue that the strategies of political contestation by producers and consumers alike deserve more explicit attention. In particular, the ways in which various GPN actors struggle over valuation requires a stronger focus on related practices of association and dissociation to stabilise or establish their respective value regimes (Ibert et al. 2019).
Our study focuses on key sites of contestation that span the global geographies of fur (-fashion) production networks: fur farms, auctions, trade fairs, design centres, whole-sale and retail shops in various locations. Based on empirical research we show how practices of association, counter-association and dissociation articulate in different sites. Focusing on the political-economic, discursive and material dimensions of political contestation (cf. Hudson 2008) in fur GPNs, we aim to contribute to a Cultural Political Economy of GPNs.

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