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Capitalizing nature. Animals and the creation of value

This panel aims to reflect on the social, cultural, symbolic, and economic capital (Bourdieu) of animals throughout history. Because the history of capitalism focuses on industrialization, mass production and technical innovation, animals scarcely appear in economic historical studies. Animals are central to trade history, the history of valorization and the history of representation. With the increase of commercial exchange in the age of expansion and due to the establishment of global trading networks, animals were increasingly transported, and in some cases transplanted across continents. Dead or alive, as whole or in parts, as prey, ressource or representation animals were marketized. As commodity, food, consumption or object of scientific interest animals were valued by humans. With the panel’s focus on the creation of value, our contributions adopt a cultural perspective in order to analyse the different values attached to animal beings in specific contexts.

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