Second paper in The Good Economy working paper series
The new working paper is titled "Experiments in co-modification: A relational take on the becoming of commodities and the making of market value".
How and where does commodification happen in practice? This paper addresses this question by analysing a set of market research experiments investigating consumers’ valuation of farmed cod as part of Norway’s plans to develop aquaculture. Whether researchers serve fish in lab cubicles, or instruct consumers to assess their liking of fish in home degustation, these experiments study the commodification process as much as they take part in it. They lend fascinating insight into the minutiae of commodification. Relying on an ethnographic analysis of experimental work, we aim to take things, and not just humans, seriously as participants in commodification. We consider the experiments as both production sites and market sites that serve both to measure and to enhance the value of commodities. This enables us to give a relational account of the enactment of commodities: an analysis of commodification as co-modification. We find a double process of co-modification going on. First, the things and consumers are co-modified: both are transformed by their encounter, and from this a commodity emerges with new, relational qualities. Second, the production site and the marketplace are co-modified as the results from the experiments have implications both for how to produce the commodity and for how to market it.
Download the paper here (pdf).