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Accepted paper:

Qualitising Coffee: Infrastructures for 'Commodity' and 'Specialty' Production in Brazil

Author:

Noa Berger (EHESS)

Paper short abstract:

The article redirects attention to infrastructures of value through the case of specialty coffee production in Brazil. It examines how infrastructures are used to render certain features of coffee relevant as both generic or unique.

Paper long abstract:

Brazil, the world's largest producer of commercial grade coffee, has traditionally been known for its' large and mechanized farms. In recent years, both smaller and larger coffee producers have positioned themselves with 'speciality coffee' in opposition to 'commodity coffee'. Investing in research, equipment and processing methods, the declared aim is to achieve coffees that would exhibit taste characteristics that will score highly and sell for an elevated price range. The article looks behind the producers' self-representations—the distinctions between 'mass' and 'singularity' markets, often reproduced in social science—by redirecting attention to infrastructures of value. It shows not only the continuity of existing physical infrastructures for 'commodity' and 'speciality' production, but examines how infrastructures are used to render certain features of coffee relevant as both generic or unique.

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