I have been conducting research on the apple industry since 2008 when I started my PhD. My interest in apple production has largely been around the relationship between the apple tree, processes of commodity development, and the economic aspects of the apple industry. My approach takes the behaviour of the plant, and the material characteristics of apples, as important foundations of market-making activities. Taking this approach blends work within science and technology studies, pragmatism, and institutionalist traditions in economics. These approaches consider action to be central to the reproduction or negotiation of economic rules, and material life to be a fundamental part of activity. Materials shape practice, which in turn shapes the architecture of our economic world. My writing on the role of plants in the economy has been published in Economy and Society and Geoforum.
I finished my PhD on “club apples” or “managed apple varieties” in 2013. These are varieties owned, produced, and marketed through a cooperative. A project report is available for download here: Project Report. There are also a number of publications that emerged out of the project, detailed on the writing page. These fell into three categories:
- Aesthetics and politics
- Technologies, landscapes, and economic subjectivity
- Packing lines and supermarkets
The project has developed into two ongoing projects: international apple branding and new supermarket aesthetics.