The Production of Space, Place, and Food: The Ecology of Money and the Emergence of Transformative Circuits of Money Capital
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This dissertation argues that Henri Lefebvre’s (1991) The Production of Space expresses a theoretical blueprint for the construction of an interdisciplinary approach to social science that integrates political economy, ecology, and geoscience under common meta-theoretical commitments. From this foundation a comparative analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of two food systems is undertaken. The orthodox or industrial food system, characterized by intensive agriculture, and the countervailing agriculture of alternative food networks supply contrasting subjects for investigating the role of distance in the production and reproduction of social and environmental externalities. By means of the Marxian circuits of money capital, each of these food systems is modeled to analyze metabolic changes as distance between the stages: purchase, production, and sale are spatially differentiated. The capacity to investigate distances is facilitated by efforts to overcome critiques of Lefebvre’s theory of space as being too abstract for practical application. This is accomplished by mapping the stages of the Marxian circuits of money capital to the physical locations in which they take place using geographic information systems (GIS). From this perspective, social and environmental externalities are interpreted both visually on maps and quantitatively using spatial analysis techniques. Given this interdisciplinary perspective of the contrasting food systems, it is hypothesized that the primary energy sources used in production are fundamental to understanding distance. Although energy is typically discussed in terms of fossil fuel or biological resources, this investigation extends the analysis to include money. Money as a social relation contributes to a spatial understanding of what Marx called the “opposite metamorphosis” or the valorization of commodities taking place between the stages of purchase and sale. The final substantive chapter outlines a policy proposal to reduce the distance of the “opposite metamorphosis” through the issue of a community currency. The issuance of the community currency expands the money ecology and stabilizes sustainable alternative food networks.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- A contribution to the production of space -- Industrial food and the ideology of growth -- Modeling alternative food networks using the circuit of money capital -- Moving the production of space into a geographic information system-first steps -- A comparative spatial examination of food's circuits of money capital -- Money as social energy -- Reflections and future inquires