- - -
Latin America European Portal
REDIAL European Network of Information and Documentation on Latin America
CEISAL European Council for Social Research on Latin America
Review DELOS Desarrollo local sostenible

desiguALdades.net Working Paper Series

Review DHIAL. Desarrollo Humano e Institucional en América Latina

Year: 2015 n. 85

Boyer, Miriam. Nature Materialities and Economic Valuation. Conceptual Perspectives and their Relevance for the Study of Social InequalitiesAmérica Latina
economic valuation | material qualities of nature | biotechnologie


The paper discusses the relationship between material qualities of nature and the process of capitalist valuation. While valuation can be defined in a broad sense pertaining to how resources are identified, extracted and integrated into the world market, the focus here is narrower, centering on the specific qualities of nature that are important to the creation of value itself and touching on related questions such as how to evaluate tendencies in which nature materialities are increasingly commodified. The first part of the paper briefly reviews the work of scholars approaching nature as a materiality placing certain ‘limits’ on valuation. Most of these scholars tend to view valuation at the level of discrete production processes and while offering many examples of how material nature constraints or enables production, the role of these qualities in value generation is not clear. By contrast, a second part of the paper discusses work that directly addresses valuation, proposing that the specific role of nature lies in the fact that nature materialities are not necessarily commodified, offering a view in which nature is not a ‘limit’ or an ‘outside’ but a materiality that is a constitutive part of valuation, historically integrated through partial commodification. A final section deals with the specificity of the valuation of living nature. Agricultural biotechnologies in Latin America are briefly discussed, raising various issues that should form part of a future research agenda to evaluate how this particular type of nature valuation will reconfigure social inequalities in the area.

Free numerical version | Germany Year of creation: 2011

Publisher: desiguALdades.net. Research Network on Interdependent Inequalities in Latin America

Sirve para difundir los primeros resultados de los proyectos de investigación en curso, con el fin de fomentar el intercambio de ideas y el debate académico. La inclusión de un artículo en la desiguALdades.net no constituye una publicación y no se restringe la publicación posterior en cualquier otro lugar.

Review summaries

Ceisal Redial © REDIAL & CEISAL. Editorial responsibility: Araceli García Martín - AECID (Madrid, España),
Jussi Pakkasvirta - Ceisal (Helsinki, Finlandia).
Web development: Olivier Bertoncello Data Consulting    Web hosting: CCIN2P3: CCIN2P3