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A ‘political fungology’ of China’s booming banana sector

By Robin Thiers, Juan Liu, Grettel Navas, Arnim Scheidel, Haifei Mou


China’s commercial Cavendish banana production revolves around the mobilization of land, capital and labour, as well as the management of a disease-prone monocrop production system. This short article spells out some observations on the particular ways these dynamics play out in the recent expansion of the sector by drawing on fieldwork done by the authors in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region during August 2018. After an introduction to the eco-social history of the Chinese banana (sector), we illustrate how a small fungus plays an active part in shaping relations between banana capital, land and labour. Extending from this case, we argue there is a need to engage more thoroughly with the more than exclusively human dynamics that shape the challenges of contemporary political ecology.


Cavendish banana, Guangxi, Fusarium wilt, agrarian-environmental transformations



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