Research

Uneven geographies of pesticide production, trade and use

We are part of an international network of researchers exploring changes in the geography of global pesticide production, trade and use, and what these changes mean for ecologies and human health. A confluence of economic, social and ecological factors has led to the accelerated adoption of pesticides in diverse agrarian contexts. We combine insights from economic geography, science and technology studies, and political ecology to understand interactions between these agrarian changes and transformations in agrochemical industries.

Projects

The Generic Herbicide Industry: A global production network analysis (2020-2023)

Making herbicide markets: Interactions between production restructuring, agriculture and environment in Latin America and Asia (Starting date September 2022)

Pesticide Trade Lab

Geographies of global commodity chains and transnational markets

We investigate the production, distribution and consumption of global commodities and their spatially and socially uneven geographies. Our particular emphasis is on agricultural commodities and industrial production systems (e.g. «maquiladora industry»). In 2012 we have started to work on a global ethnography of soy. The starting point was Argentina and a critical investigation of the soy commodity chain from the point of view of Argentinian producers. Subsequent research involved a study of the commodity futures market in Chicago, the investigation of attempts of Swiss retailers to procure non-GM soy in Europe, and the expansion of the soy commodity frontier to south eastern Europe.

Projects

Upgrading, competitive strategies, and uneven development. Embedding upgrading of Argentinian soft commodity chains in its political-economic environment. (2014-2019)

Geographies of marketization

This is an ongoing project in collaboration with Marc Boeckler (University of Frankfurt). In its broadest understanding "geographies of marketization" open up new perspectives towards the emergence of market orders and their continuous spatial and social expansion (and their contribution to the construction of society). Markets are conceived of as sociotechnical assemblages: arrangements of people, things, and sociotechnical devices that format products, prices, competition, places of exchange, and mechanisms of control. This takes seriously the constellations of distributed agency that make processes of marketization possible.

Berndt C and Boeckler M (2020) Geographies of marketization: performation struggles, incomplete commodification and the “problem of labour”. In: Berndt C, Peck J, and Rantisi N (eds) Market/Place: Exploring Spaces of Exchange. Newcastle upon Tyne: Agenda Publishing, pp. 69–88. (PDF)

Berndt C, Peck J and Rantisi N (eds) (2020) Market/Place: Exploring Spaces of Exchange. Newcastle upon Tyne: Agenda Publishing. (Link)

Alternative economic geographies

We contribute to social studies of marketization and engage with the geographies of alternative economic activities such as social (impact) finance, sharing networks or solidary agriculture. Our emphasis is on the diversity of economic practices and the negotiation of non/market boundaries.

Alternative Economies, Commoning and Degrowth

Geographies of labor, migration and gender

We research labor markets, (labor) migration and working conditions, analyzing how inequalities are produced, sustained and legitimized. In particular, we analyze how nationality, gender and other categories of social differenciation are mobilized when people cross borders and find work.

Migration, labor markets and borders

Financialization and digitalization of development policy

We research the drive towards the digitalization and financialization of development and social policy. In particular, we are interested in the construction and social consequences of social finance markets. In connection, we are investigating the way in which development policymaking is increasingly drawing on technological innovations such as digital identities, smart contracts and blockchains.

Social Impact Finance

Finance, Development and Digitalization