Cultivating capital: Urban agriculture, eco-habitus, and the valorization of social reproduction
Despite the fundamental linkages between urban consumers and rural producers, recent theorizations of “planetary urbanization” have yet to figure explicitly in agrarian political economy. Similarly, agri-food scholarship has contributed little in the way of theorizing urban change despite growing interest in – and legibility of – urban food production. In this paper, I suggest that critical agri-food studies and critical urbanism might be mutually generative by honing in on social production and how it is transformed into capital and scaled up from the household to the urban. Drawing on urban political economy, feminist political economic theorizations of social reproduction, and Bourdieu’s “species of capital”, I interpret the results of a mixed-methods study of residential urban agriculture in Portland, Oregon to demonstrate how urban agriculture undergirds an “urban sustainability fix” and processes of eco-gentrification while resisting the logic of capitalist accumulation. The capitalist valorization of urban agriculture – i.e., the commodity moment itself – is spatially dependent according to the logics of uneven capitalist development and related emergence of an eco-habitus, while also contingent on urban policy and politics.
The first session runs 8:30 to 10, and my session starts at 10:30 and runs til noon, in SFU Harbour Centre, room 2270, 515 W. Hastings, Vancouver, BC.