Suppliers, Brokers and Customers: Soy?s Global Trade Network since the 1950s
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
European Society of Environmental History Conference 2023
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
This paper adopts a commodity-focused network approach to international trade as a key feature of agro-food globalisation in the era of Great Acceleration. It conceptualises agro-food globalisation as succession of food regimes, i.e. bundles of inter- and transnational power relations connecting food production, distribution and consumption. In addition to statistical analyses of aggregate data on exports and imports, the study includes network analysis for better capturing the connective character of globalisation. The international network of agricultural trade is assessed through the lens of soy, which emerged as a major commodity from the mid-twentieth century onwards. Besides numerous country-case studies, global accounts of soy as a commodity are still rare. The paper goes beyond conventional analyses of country-level export and import figures by adopting a network perspective on international trade of soybeans and their products (soyoil and soycake). It aims at answering the following questions: first, how and why global soy trade unfolded in temporal and spatial terms; second, how and why international links and (sub-)national nodes composed the global soy trade network (with emphasis on Brazil as a supplier, the Netherlands as a broker and Austria as a customer); third, how and why driving forces and ruling actors at multiple levels shaped soy?s trade network and its socionatural outcomes. The results add complexity to simplistic notions of agricultural trade in the Great Acceleration through temporal and spatial differentiation. The paper is part of the FWF research project Soy and Agro-Food Change (SoyChange).