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Enacting the Good Economy: Biocapitalization and the little tools of valuation

Project description

Studying the ‘little tools’ for biocapitalisation

Where will our food come from and what will drive our economies in the future? The answer may lie partly in the blue revolution, where fish are farmed rather than caught. While it’s viewed as a potential solution to our future food and economic needs, it is a complex transformation. In this context, the European Research Council-funded LITTLE TOOLS project aims to shed light on the process of biocapitalisation and how values such as sustainability and animal welfare can be enacted through material-semiotic entities known as ‘little tools’. The project will focus on multiple sites for biocapitalisation, including science, the market, policy, and funding institutions. By using cross-disciplinary methods, this project aims to provide new empirical insights.


What shall we live off in the future? Where will our food come from, and what will form the basis for our economies? A so-called “blue revolution”, where fish become farmed rather than caught, is increasingly presented as an answer to the above questions. This transformation of the economy exemplifies ongoing efforts to produce new forms of capital out of the ordering and reordering of life. These processes are intimately related to the expanding life sciences, the bioeconomy and what is sometimes called new forms of biocapital.
But how do such large transformations take place in actual practice, and by which means? This project argues that if we are to understand such major transformations we need to study “little tools”, that is, material-semiotic entities that carefully modify and work upon bodies, markets and science.
Emerging bioeconomies are expected not only to produce economic value but also to enact values in other ways that contribute to what this project refers to as “the good economy”. Such values include enabling sustainable fisheries, secure animal welfare or sustainable growth.
The main hypothesis of the current project is that the enactment of the good economy can be studied by valuation practices performed by material-semiotic little tools. The project will explore this hypothesis at multiple sites for biocapitalization: science, the market, policy and funding institutions. This project will focus on how these interact and encounter one another. The aim is twofold: first, to provide new empirical insights about how biocapitalization processes are enacted in practice and at strategic sites, using cross-disciplinary methods from actor-network theory, the humanities and economic sociology; second to contribute analytically and methodologically to the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) by drawing on resources from economic sociology and the humanities in order to provide an analytical framework for comprehending biocapitalization practices.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 495 079,00
Problemveien 5-7
0313 Oslo

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Norge Oslo og Viken Oslo
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)