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Biological Economies: Experimentation and the politics of agri-food frontiers

Published 11 February 2019

Edited by Richard Le Heron, Hugh Campbell, Nick Lewis, Michael Carolan

Published by Routledge, 2016

Marsden Fund contract UOA0924 'Biological economies: knowing and making new rural value relations'


Recent agri-food studies, including commodity systems, the political economy of agriculture, regional development, and wider examinations of the rural dimension in economic geography and rural sociology have been confronted by three challenges. These can be summarized as: ‘more than human’ approaches to economic life; a ‘post-structural political economy’ of food and agriculture; and calls for more ‘enactive’, performative research approaches.

This volume describes the genealogy of such approaches, drawing on the reflective insights of more than five years of international engagement and research. It demonstrates the kinds of new work being generated under these approaches and provides a means for exploring how they should be all understood as part of the same broader need to review theory and methods in the study of food, agriculture, rural development and economic geography. This radical collective approach is elaborated as the Biological Economies approach. The authors break out from traditional categories of analysis, reconceptualising materialities, and reframing economic assemblages as biological economies, based on the notion of all research being enactive or performative.

Link to publisher's website

Link to Professor Richard Le Heron's institutional webpage (co-PI, Biological Economies)

Link to Professor Hugh Campbell's institutional webpage (co-PI, Biological Economies)