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Webb, Sarah Jayne

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Queensland, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
April 18, 2011
Project Title: 
Webb, Sarah Jayne, U. of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia - To aid research on 'Materials Reformed, Materials of Reform: Value and Forest Product Trade on Palawan Island, the Philippines,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram Dressler

SARAH J. WEBB, then a student at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Materials Reformed, Materials of Reform: Value and Forest Product Trade on Palawan Island, the Philippines,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram H. Dressler. This project traces how values of Palawan forest honey are produced through socio-economic relations between Tagbanua harvesters, middle traders, civil society, and, the state. Value-adding such non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is heralded as a market-based solution to sustainable forest use. The grantee's multi-sited ethnography highlights the need to consider the specificities and complexities of how value is made through everyday exchanges. Rather than relying on linear production-to-consumption models dominating forest product valuations, this study uses a commodityscape approach. Well established in anthropological studies of globalization, the approach suggests commodity values are contextually created within the networks of people, places, ideas, and, things through which products circulate. Data from participant observation, workshops, interviews, and, surveys were collated with secondary sources to document how a product with a relatively localised market is embedded within national, regional, and global value-making networks. This study contributes an analysis of how marginalizations of Tagbanua families from broader meanings made about honey value, and the romanticisms of forest-livelihoods which make it valuable are not abnormalities external to processes of 'value-adding,' which can be technically amended, but cultural politics endogenous to the creation and communication of value.