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Global Commodities

Erich Landsteiner, Ernst Langthaler
Published: 15 April 2021

Abstract: Focusing on coca, coffee, gold, soy, sugar, and tea, articles in a special issue of the Austrian Journal of Historical Studies 30/3 (2019) on Global Commodities aim at tracing the emergence of commodity chains through the expansion and contraction of commodity frontiers. Frontier shifts imply complex – and potentially conflicting – interactions shaped by as well as shaping socio-natural systems. Thus, the contributions reveal commodity chains and their frontiers to be subject to negotiations between multiple actors, both human and non-human. Each of the contributions concentrates on one or more world region(s) of frontier shifts, while taking into account the transregional, transnational, and transcontinental connections via commodity chains. Thereby, these commodity-focused histories reveal the benefit of combining global with regional or even local perspectives (Joseph, 2019).
Keywords: gold / coffee / transnational / tea / Global Commodities / contraction / transregional / commodity focused / Frontier shifts

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