Follow the thing: tradescapes and borders

Authors: Maria Del Pilar Delpino Marimon*,
Topics: Cultural Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology, Political Geography
Keywords: tradescapes, mobilities, borders
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 15
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 2009, the World Bank published a development report on reshaping economic geography (The World Bank, 2009). The report asked the question, “how to make globalization work for all countries?” (ibid. p. xxiii). The answer is: economic integration via institutions, infrastructure, and incentives. In other words, economic integration is achieved with policies that encourage the emergence of tradescapes. These are “cross-border regions, created through trade agreements, logistics technologies and road, rail and other transport infrastructure, through which goods and services are able to move freely” (Hildyard & Sol, 2017, 5). . From a legal, temporal, and territorial perspective, tradescapes are not static, bounded, or fixed. Drawing from Appadurai, as “things” move through their social life, becoming and unbecoming commodities, the definition of the border and the cross-border becomes transitory. Using a Follow The Thing method as heuristic (Cook et al. 2004; Appadurai, 1986), the paper argues that as commodities get made and remade, so do the borders that define and constitute tradescapes. With this framework, the emergence of the border becomes a social phenomenon.

Appadurai (ed). (1986). The Social life of things: commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge; New York :Cambridge University Press

Cook, et al. (2004). Follow the thing: Papaya. Antipode, 36(4), 642-664

Hildyard & Sol. (2017). How Infrastructure is Shaping the World: A critical Introduction to Infrastructure Mega-Corridors. The Corner House. http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/resource/how-infrastructure-shaping-world

The World Bank. (2009). World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography. http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/730971468139804495/pdf/437380REVISED01BLIC1097808213760720.pdf

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