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Techno-Production Network and Edamame Trade Between Taiwan and Japan

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Item Summary

Title:Techno-Production Network and Edamame Trade Between Taiwan and Japan
Authors:Wang, Kuan-Chi
Contributors:Jones, Reece (advisor)
Geography and Environment (department)
geography of food
food regime
geo-political economy
Date Issued:May 2013
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
Abstract:The globalizing food industry and agricultural restructuring in East Asia are a significant part of the trend toward global economic integration. Cross-border flows of food and related capitals, technologies, and labors are integrating otherwise disparate territories, creating a regime for food safety and quality in East Asia. This study focuses on the vegetable trade between Taiwan and Japan using the case of the edamame industry and its governance. This study will explore the "actually existing globalization” of agrofood in East Asia. I will ask how and under what conditions the Taiwanese edamame industry has been able to perform successfully while the local vegetable industry of Taiwan and edamame industry of China have failed.
The intellectual merit of this research lies in its description of the geo-political economy of food trade in East Asia. In the study of food geography, and particularly of the globalization of food trade, there is much literature on Contract Farming (CF), Global Commodity Chain (GCC) and Global Production Network (GPN) to help in our understanding of food production and trade in a cross-border context. Yet there has been little study of the role of varied geographies of regulations and of producers’ strategies in questioning the dynamics of food trade. Drawing from the case of the edamame industry of Taiwan—the world’s leading supplier of edamame beans—and edamame trade between Taiwan and Japan in the past decades, I build on the CF, GCC, and GPN literatures and go further to conceptualize the active participation of Taiwanese actors in the formation of the “techno-production network,” in order to better understand the geo-political economies of food globalization. This research will contribute to a deeper understanding of the geo-political economy of food trade, by revealing political-historical contours of an East Asian food production network, built by Japan and Taiwan in colonial era, postwar and Cold War era, and present neoliberal era.
In Chapter 1, the introduction, I introduce the geo-political economy of the food production network. Studies on Taiwan’s agriculture have largely focused on the rice and sugarcane industries promoted by the Japanese colonial government. However, these studies merely view Taiwan’s agricultural development as a producer for Japanese consumption. In a similar vein, studies that regard Japan as the center of the East Asian food regime also treat Taiwan as an outsourcing food producer maximizing profits for the Japanese food industry. This overlooks the varied geographies of regulations and actors’ strategies in competitive food trade environments that change over time. Accordingly, in Chapter 2, Constructing the Techno-Production Network, this thesis adds to the literature of Contract Farming (CF), Global Commodity Chain (GCC), and Global Production Network (GPN), through political-historical and modern economic geography. It goes beyond the micro level coordination of firms and their networks, in order to encompass the broader power relations in which food regimes operate. I focus on regional geo-political and historical factors that shape the food flow in global markets, and examine the roles they play in broader international relations and their institutional evolution. In Chapter 3, Facing South: The Formation of the Taiwanese Agrarian Knowledge Regime, 1935-1945, I argue that the foundation of the successful Taiwanese edamame industry today is based on previous Japanese colonial experiences. Those agricultural institutions along with the Japanese imperial roots for development and social control set up the governance structure, as well as the subsequent path of agrarian development in postwar Taiwan. In Chapter 4, Rethinking Food Regime: The Emerging Techno-Production Network of the Edamame Industry in East Asia, I argue that though food regimes and their modified ideas can better capture aspects of the Taiwanese edamame industry’s development, they ignore the political history of Japanese and American international aid in East Asia. The present government-to-government international aid of Japan and the United States, are the two largest official development assistances (ODA) in Asia-Pacific and in the world. These overseas aids are the legacy of colonial empires through which technologies and institutions are articulated, with the global trade enacted by multinational firms. In addition, I argue that, though food regime literature is useful in analyzing edamame’s history, it is necessary to examine Taiwan’s edamame industry and its success story through the agrarian knowledge regime and techno-production networks within the postcolonial, postwar, post-Cold War, and present-neoliberal context of East Asian development. In the conclusion, I highlight the contributions of this thesis and future orientations.
Description:MA University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 79–86).
Pages/Duration:86 leaves
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Geography

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