Colloques et journées d'étude |

The political economy/ecology of animal labour in Asia

6e Congrès Asie 

The 6th French Network for Asian Studies International Conference (26-28 June 2017) was organized by the French Network for Asian Studies – FNAS (or GIS Asie in French) – together with Sciences Po, Paris.


27 juin 2017


Sciences Po, 27 rue Saint-Guillaume 75007 Paris

Panel's presentation

Labour has been an enduring concept in the critical social sciences and environmental studies. A dynamic process mediating nature and society (Marx, 1976), it has been a key analytic for thinking about value (Rubin, 2000 [1928]), work (Harriss-White, 2003), as well as nature (Smith, 1996) in political economies. In recent years, following reworking divisions between human and nonhuman productive activity (Ingold, 2000), and work (Porcher, 2015), a more expanded understanding of labour emerged. 

A nascent body of research seeks to rethink how bodily capacities of animals qualify as labour (Lainé 2016), and explore how such labour is enrolled into processes of expropriation in both living and ‘dead' forms (Perkins, 2007). Others emphasize the dynamics and logics of commodifying nonhuman labour in the form of ‘lively commodities' (Collard, 2013), the differential forms of value it generates (Barua, 2016), besides tracking how its sensibilities manifest in capitalist practices of accumulation (Blanchette, 2015). 

By acknowledging animal labour, contributions of this panel will aim at reorienting political economic and ecological approaches to nature in Asia. More specifically, it will ask how accounting for animal labour might enable other definitions of the conservation paradigm that has emerged from global crisis and responses to the Anthropocene (Bonneuil, Fressoz 2012). To this end, themes of interest include:

- Histories of animal labour in Asian context, with a focus on colonial and postcolonial period

- Non-human working activity and its role in co-producing political economies of conservation (zoos, parks, ecosystem services)

- Partnership between human-animal communities and their role in shaping landscapes

- Understandings of commodities produced through animal labour/ animal body parts.

Collège de France
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PSL Research University

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