Beyond the commodity: gendered socionatures, value, and commoning in Mexican coffee plots

Holly Worthen, Tad Mutersbaugh, Sarah Lyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasingly, women are the producers of many agricultural commodities around the world and feminist scholars astutely argue that women subsidize global agricultural production because the exchange value attributed to their products in commodity chains does not fairly compensate them. Although this is the case with women’s smallholder coffee in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, in this paper we seek to move beyond an analysis of value and exploitation based on the commodity (in this case, coffee) to explore more fully women’s production practices. Drawing on debates over the question of value production in socionatures, we suggest that as women cultivate coffee, they also create socionatural spaces in which they produce and valorise a host of things and relations. Literature on diverse economies, Latin American theorizations of lo común (the common), and feminist political ecology help us examine how women also generate a multiplicity of values that exceeds their fraught relationship with global commodity chains. This perspective enables us to expand the way we understand women producers, seeing them simultaneously as subjects exploited by value extraction through the commodity chain to political actors engaging with other forms of valuing and promoting life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Place and Culture
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • coffee
  • Commodity chains
  • commoning
  • feminisation of agriculture
  • social reproduction
  • value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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