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This panel gathers contributions that focus on the transformative nature of logistics in both the heartlands and the margins of supply chain capitalism. In so doing, this panel moves toward an anthropology of logistics that examines the ongoing (re-)configuration of global capitalism.
Circulation is the lifeblood of the global economy, yet the global pandemic has highlighted the fragility and volatility of global supply chains: seafarers stranded at sea, delayed shipping containers, empty store shelves, shortages of truck drivers in consumer networks, energy issues at production centres, and a boom of door-to-door deliveries handled by exploited workers. Examining the processes through which commodities circulate is crucial for making sense of the transformation and (re-)configuration of global capitalism today. While theories of commodity exchange have long been central to anthropological knowledge production, this panel pushes toward an anthropology of logistics that prioritizes understanding the transformative nature of logistics in response to multi-scaled 'crises.'
We invite ethnographic explorations of how strategies of capital accumulation are consolidated, broken down, or otherwise altered through the work of logistics in both the heartlands and the margins of supply chain capitalism. These explorations may include varied forms of labor struggles across the global supply chain; explicit strategies aimed at either stopping or facilitating commodity circulation; 'green' energy, finance, and infrastructure development; or the effect of environmental policies on logistics more broadly. How are 'logistics futures' imagined, enacted or resisted? Who is included in, or excluded from, the politics of commodity circulation? What is the relation between infrastructure and logistics? Who bears the costs of logistical transformations and their reworking of the commons? And how do we study logistics ethnographically?
Madlen Kobi (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
Elena Sischarenco (University of Fribourg)
Violeta Argudo Portal (Institute of Public Goods and Policies, Spanish National Research Council)
Bilge Firat (University of Texas at El Paso)