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Commodity Chains

  • By: Deborah Leslie
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

A commodity chain encompasses a set of interrelated activities associated with the production of one good or service such as manufacturing, consumption, design, retailing, marketing, and advertising. In commodity chain analyses, the economy is conceptualized as an assemblage of individual chains, each possessing a unique logic, organization, and spatiality. Using the lens of the commodity chain, geographers have explored the dynamics of production and consumption in a range of commodities, including fashion, furniture, footwear, gold, diamonds, fruits, vegetables, coffee, chocolate, and cut flowers. The focus is on the vertical relationships between buyers and suppliers of a particular product, tracing the flow of material resources, value, finance, and knowledge—as well as signs and symbols—between sites along a chain. Processes of coordination and competition among actors operating ...

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