Standardization as a means for globalizing a commodity: The case of rapeseed in China

Keiko Tanaka, Lawrence Busch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Not all commodities are things, nor are all things available in society commodities. Then, what are commodities? Using the case of rapeseed and its products in China, this paper examines the role of grades and standards (G&S) in simultaneously determining the life of things as commodities and the position of humans as market participants. In the first section, we summarize our conceptual understandings of commodities. Next, the paper examines tests and trials to which rapeseed in China were subjected by the mid 1990s. We then discuss how G&S represent political processes among commodity chain actors for creating, legitimizing and maintaining the social relations between things and people. Lastly, we discuss our conclusion that the analysis of tests and trials helps us understand the process of commodification as simultaneous transformations of humans and things in a commodity chain while reorganizing linkages among these actors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-45
Number of pages21
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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