The Cultural Turn in Geography: A New Link in the Commodity Chain

  • Elaine Hartwick
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 104)


Consumption is an activity where the notion of freedom prevails. The consumer has to feel that she or he can do what they want in the market place – buy this or that, apparently at will. For the culture of consumptive freedom to prevail, the commodity has to appear out of no-where, as total appearance stripped of background. So culture has a function: masking the material reality of the production of commodities. Masking the material particularly means eliminating the labor component from consumptive consciousness. This is especially because labor is most contradictory to consumptive happiness. Critical social theory wants to disturb this dream state, and the analysis of commodity chains is its political-theoretical agent. So commodity chain analysis, linking the act of consumption with the process of production, constitutes a materialist deconstruction of consumption culture. And further, as industrial capitalism is over-taken by financial capitalism, a new link needs to be added to the commodity chain, as finance, speculation and debt further distance both producers and consumers from economic reality – this is particularly the case for the speculative trading of commodities in the futures markets. This chapter explores such issues in terms of new actors and new cultural, political, economic power flows in the global financial capitalist economy. Exploring commodities in this way blurs the sub-disciplinary lines between economic and cultural geography.


Future Market Credit Default Swap Finance Capitalism Commodity Production Future Trading 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography DepartmentFramingham State UniversityFraminghamUSA

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