Commodity Chains and Social Ecological Changes: A Theoretical Inquiry on Human-Environment Interactions
35 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 21 Jul 2014
Date Written: 2009
Sustainability science is an emerging field in the study of human-environment interactions. At the core of the analytical challenges this field faces is deconstructing, analyzing, and understanding the dynamic linkages between societal changes and environmental changes at multiple scales and domains. Drawing upon a seminal work of Mancur Olson on the nature of groups and the nature of goods, and the work of Vincent Ostrom and colleagues at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University on policycentricity, this paper develops an inquiry into polycentric theory of human-environment interactions. In so doing, the paper traces global commodity chains of FIJI water bottles. Three processes: (1) material and historical processes; (2) economic processes; and (3) political and legal processes associated with the commodity chains of FIJI water bottle are investigated to illustrate linkages between commodity chains and social ecological changes. The paper argues that the value-in-use sought by individual consumers in a commodity along the commodity chain is the central gravity of the dynamic relationship between human and environment.
Keywords: commodity chain, Fiji water, nature of goods, nature of group, polycentric theory
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