Sarah Jayne Webb

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Queensland, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10064

Approve Date

October 2, 2020

Project Title

Webb, Sarah (Queensland, U. of) "Adding sustainability? The politics of value creation in the rainforest markets of the Philippine archipelago"

Products promising to save rainforests by providing sustainable livelihoods become everyday commodities elsewhere. In the social worlds of livelihood policy, this promise relies on a key supposition – that reforming forest materials into sustainable commodities will produce additional value, thereby providing income to local residents without threatening the resource base. For anthropologists who have long been interested in value, this supposition opens up, rather than answers, questions about the transformative potential of these products to address sustainability. What might constitute value, and for whom? What does an added value of products do in the sense of social action? How might an anthropology of value-adding elucidate the power-laden promises of marketing products as sustainable? Through multi-sited ethnography which traces the changing forms of honey harvested from the rainforests of Palawan Island, this work examines the complex power relations between indigenous Tagbanua honey harvesters, middletraders, civil society groups, state agencies and consumers. Based on completed research, the writing project will include two papers in the later stages of publication but its main focus will be the preparation of a book entitled ‘Greener than nature: Anthropology of value-adding in a Philippine rainforest’. The result is a project which demonstrates anthropology’s unique position to explain why the seductive quest for sustainability cannot be pursued in isolation from considering the politics of value creation.