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Politics of Nature: sacred object and accumulation


Palme from the Drake manuscript histoirie naturelle des Indes (The Pierpont Morgan Library, NY@ david a Loggie)

di Enrico Milazzo [*]


In our way to understanding the Politics of Nature as the paradigmatic, which pouring out of the relationship between Labor and Economics, tries equating Matter – or simply, as the limitless expansion of the rule of Law in the reign of things- we must look upon three particular items. The first area of items to be discussed are the Sacred Objects, then we will consider a small part of the concept of Value and finally the aftermath of the Accumulation’s problem.

In the first place, the Sacred Objects are those which, if correctly conceived, allow us to keep an eye on the historical transformations of evaluation procedures and evaluation ‘capacity’ of our society. We might find out, in fact, not only which things have been considered valuable and exchangeable, or how is assessed their relationship with money and currency. Also, we can discover that some things between those which are conceived as ‘valuable’, actually have no price. Or we might even note that there are other things that have never encountered a process of reification, so to say, of monetization. In this process, the boundaries between the ‘real life’ of things and the politics of Nature might appear brightly, as it is revealed that an object doesn’t exist just in order to be appropriated and valued by people. As Giorgio Agamben puts it, the ‘thing’ always reminds to our idea of ‘Law’ its own un-disposability to adhere obediently to the dictates and definition enacted by legislation. As we’ll see, the very notion of ‘person’ in our culture may be founded on these premises.

 In order to show that the Politics of Nature deal with Nature mainly thanks to a representational and estimative world as that of law, the part of the discussion around Value that we find relevant is the one engaged with the problematization of the law of equivalence [1]. In particular, in fact, we must look at the status of things inside Law in the moment of their re-comprehension, or rather, the re-comprehension of their evaluated value inside the bodily economy of abstraction and Law of our culture. The law of equivalence will permit us to address the production of a definition, or of an image of the real object in order to make it part of a founding social and juridical discourse. The difference between the two layers constituting the world, the one made of rough and raw things, and the other made of disposable and pronounceable objects, is made perceivable thanks to Law. The shaped materials, the artwork resting behind the creation of an object, its features and the signs of the artisan’s mastery all together concur in making the procedure of evaluation capable of distinction between use, monetary value, and the material good itself.

Lastly, and that’s where we find abstraction in things no less than in written laws, we must inquire into the possibility of objects being priced over their appearance, so to say, their image or their affiliation to the values of the commodities’ production economic world. In this regard, some help will come from insights produced by the discussion around the process of accumulation and commodity fetishism in capitalistic societies.

9781138242982The contributions relevant to this attempt are important as much as the three particular items we intend to discuss, for the dialogue between anthropologists, historians of law and Marxist philosophers will allow us to move between interdisciplinary matters. Specifically, we will draw general considerations from the juridical lessons of Yan Thomas, especially contained in The value of things, that will lead us in the journey together with the Object becoming a Thing. In any case, the main discourse of the Romanist Law historian, the one considering Law’s building role in the fundamental sense of domesticity and home-ness of Western societies, will be taken back further. A classic essay of anthropology will be considered as extremely relevant together with its critic. We will in fact look at the Essay sur don by Marcel Mauss and the L’ènigme du done, written decades after the first by Marxist Anthropologist Maurice Godelier. No less important in concluding the contributions, are some parts of the The economic and philosophical manuscripts of Karl Marx, and the travel into the commodities world made by Michael Taussig. In these last texts we want to underline how the value and the image of the object itself intertwine along the path that brings from the raw shapes of the natural materials to a priced and meaningful production of socio-political relations.

As a general premise, we remark our idea that the Politics of Nature, that we already called ‘the paradigmatic trying to equate Matter’, represent the effort of politics to grasp and master in any possible way the externality of things. Such an externality is renewed and maintained at the bottom of every human use of the object, in the impossibility for anybody to incorporate the thing or to naturally appropriate it after the last use before death. The thing, just as space, is the non-appropriable matter, and that is why politics cannot deal with things or space without creating a representation of them. Even so, even with representations, sometimes human politics cannot overcome the materiality of space or things, when these cannot be represented anymore than as ‘the Given’ (Gegeben-heit).

 The greatest fear of an order of property is, in fact, the risk that a given materiality appears impossible to overcome or to deal with, capable of destroying all the other things, or to make their use impossible. The politics of Nature are those which have metabolized this risk, and those who act as to believe to be able to have this risk under certain kinds of control. With this risk in mind we move towards the law of Western people.

 cover__id976_w800_t1465131712-jpgFrom Matter to Res

 The movement of the object underlined by Yan Thomas in The value of things goes from a reign that Giorgio Agamben and many others (Georges Canguilhem, for example) would call the ‘reality of life’, vague as for the impossibility to grasp the true nature of such a kingdom which exists without the need of naming it. The point of arrival of the object transported is, as we draw from the French historian’s lessons, a world made of human institutions, languages and agreements.

What appears problematic of this movement is the vehicle which brings the object from a world to another. In fact, simply and plainly, the vehicle is imaginative, potentially abstract and aleatory itself as the images: as language. Another critical point is the fact that the mere possibility of conceiving a human world made of laws and institutions seems so strictly connected with the impossibility to grasp a thing from the other world, that of life. Keeping the thing where it belongs, without transforming it in something else, doesn’t open any door to the kingdom of civilization, but, on the other side, meanwhile that transformation permits an use, an incarnation of the juridical aspect of the thing, the thing materially just remains the same. This optical vision is no less relevant in our discourse than the abstract division between body and soul in our modern idea of person.

To keep a trace of this difference, between the materiality of the thing itself and the discursive representation of the object, we must in effect look back at vehicle of this transformation. Language, expecially that of Law, is highly performative. This means that the correlation with the use of language made in a certain age of society is of first relevance for understanding the cultural capacity of that society to conceive, enter and lean on the world of things for how they are in themselves. More clearly, we can say that in the performance of juridical language we can verify the capacity of a certain society to understand and value the division between the two worlds held in the very body of just a ‘thing’.

Understanding the division between Matter and res is a problem of great eminence in the history of cultures, since describes directly the economic order in force in the light of the simple conceivable relations between subject and object. We are referring here to a problem that will be discussed later, that of a relation between subject and object conceived only under the effigy of the commodity. To get there, we before must describe how space and time may be framed in respect of the object.

cuna-molaSpace and time, conditions of possibility of Matter, are the ineludible features that permit to an object – as every thing – to exist, or at least to be perceived. Law in the first place is a description of the disposition towards these two irreducible dimensions where the object exists, since the contingency of space and time need to be precisely formulated in order for an object to be possessed under a frame of justice. In the natural reign of Matter, as we already highlighted, an object cannot simply be possessed. There is nothing that in nature can tell us about the property of a thing, because possession is something that exist only under the condition of representation and a kind of language. Space, in this optic, may be more useful: if I have a direct control of something, having it close to me, or having it closed under a door which only I can open, or similar actions, someone else, sharing my language, can deduce that the use of that thing may be exclusive to me. And yet, possession and use are not the same thing.

 Time, as well, is an irreducible part of conceiving the idea of possessing something. If we take a box of vegetable, which may expire in few weeks, we must together acknowledge that the law regarding the possession and the use of those vegetables will be in force only until the objects affected exist. The objects-related laws are born-again every time an object comes into being and disappear in regard of that object every time it is destroyed or consumed.

The relationship between subject and object are thus framed culturally only under the conditions in which the individual or the law can conceive their own relation with the object. Nowadays, if an object of mine is lost, a wallet for example, it doesn’t stop being mine, but I cannot use it anymore. The object spatially exists, but I don’t have any more control over it. What, then, we must deduce drawing from the difference between property and use, space and time, in regard of a juridical order of property? What passes between the illocutionary act of possession and the real pragmatic act of having it under control?

These questions are re-formulations of the simple question already posed: how Matter becomes res? Res is the noun which in Latin have a vastity of acceptations, but the main one is precisely ‘thing’. Yan Thomas shows eminently the process of reification through which following a certain procedure a raw material can become object of commerce. Being object of commerce means to have become an object of the law, and thus to have been measured, valued, rendered disposable and finally included in a linguistic order. What is explicitly exceptional is the procedure of reification itself.

Again, what does it mean to possess something? It means first of all to have it under a regime of exchange and appropriation, a patrimonial one. But, as Yan Thomas shows in the very beginning of his essay, this quality of the objects is not so evident in Law, for we understand the patrimonial order to be the condition of possibility of commerce only if we contrast it with those things which are not disposable, part of ‘a patrimony which has no master’. What Yan Thomas is indicating is that the process of reification itself, so to say, of evaluation, quantification and formalization of an object, is the necessary procedure to distinguish that object from the non-mastered patrimony.


The talking dog

Thomas argues that ‘the very idea of juridical constitution of things in general’ refers to the very process of implicating a thing, of putting it in cause, world that in Latin is the same as the thing: res. The res thus meant to distinguish, through the process of definition, the things which were possibly part of a personal patrimony, from those who couldn’t be personal. The procedures, though, at least in origin were not formulated in order to impede the alienation of something from the non-mastered patrimony. The inalienability of some objects was just stated. The procedures, rather, in the archaic time existed in order to make something appropriable, to tell them from what was public, or sacred.

The distinction between public/sacred things and private objects was not just a matter of appropriability. Rather, the un-disposability and the un-appropriability of something was not a matter of a natural or titular status of the thing, but of destination of use. In this regard, the difference between use and property becomes evident as the difference between life and rights, body and soul. A thing was public or sacred because its use was common, inalienable from any citizen, who was in fact bringing in himself a double personality, a private one and a public one, ‘and for this second title, the things of the city belonged to him just as to everyone, but in a non-alienable way’ [2].

It was possible, therefore, to actually possess something only if that thing was not considered of common use. But, of course, there was also a procedure to make something sacred or public, and this is one of the main points of Yan Thomas’ lesson. It is not just a natural title or quality that could make anything in any way for the society, but a thing had to be represented in the juridical order because a thing could be a res only through formal expressions of a will to make that thing appropriable or un-appropriable. The problem then, here rests with the possible connection between, on the one side, the destination of use of something, and on the other side, with the need of representing, including and seizing something inside the words of law. We must go back to the problem of space, in fact, to understand the beginning of every procedure of sacralization of an object (may be a temple, or anything): the necessary condition was to mark off a portion of Space, within which the Sacred thing had to be located. The destination of use, thus, was surely a necessary condition as well, but inside the corpus of law ‘the prescription of the lines institute and establish the place where the act can act’ [3]. We believe then, that the relationship between the real fact of inalienability and the enforcement of the act of sacralization can highlight the role of language: to transport a foundation act into the everyday commerce right, revealing at the same time the authority of the magistrate and the condition of existence of a non-marketable organization of goods. In regard of this last formulation particularly, language had to pay off its debts towards the natural order making possible any Matter, the order which was ruled only by space and time.

This debt, which will analyzed further later, is found often in many juridical formulas. It is the example of the Sacred things, which were conceived as patrimony of the Gods, or of the City. The Gods or the City didn’t have only Sacred and Common things: they could also possess marketable and exchangeable goods. But the destination of the Sacred goods was so special that at the juridical level they were considered immortal: over and above any human conception. As Yan Thomas have it, an earthquake could destroy the temple, and time could take it down forever, but the space of the temple would keep being Sacred and non-marketable. The human market of things is thus suspended forever on that piece of land, as much as the title of the soil is suspended as to appear to be founded only on its materiality. What surprises is that such a suspension is the foundational act for the possibility of the commerce.

 «Il regime delle cose appropriabili e commerciabili è dunque presentato in due modi nel diritto romano. O gli interdetti, facendole entrare in un’area indisponibile, le isolano definitivamente dalla sfera privata in cui esse circolano: una cosa già commerciale è in qualche modo disattivata e messa per sempre in riserva, secondo una procedura di diritto pubblico o sacro che la destina a qualche terzo imperituro (un dio, un morto, la città stessa) – operazione che, nella tecnica giuridica la rende patrimonio di nient’altro che di sé stessa, contenitore e contenuto, soggetto e oggetto, attraverso la sospensione della relazione tra soggetto e oggetto che un libero dominio dell’uno da parte dell’altro comporta. È allora attraverso la sottrazione e l’eccezione che il commercio ci appare di diritto ordinario. Oppure le vediamo entrare per la prima volta nel loro primo dominio. Che si tratti di modalità positiva o negativa, è sempre sulla frontiera del caso limite -in cui si vede un bene uscire per sempre dalla sfera di appropriazione o entrarvi per la prima volta – che il giurista si interroga, non già sul regime corrente delle cose, che gli fornisce la materia ordinaria del suo mestiere, ma sulla loro costruzione giuridica, vera costruzione politica della merce» [4] (corsivo nostro).

Drawing from this long quote, in particular looking at this ‘imperishable third’ to which is directed the procedure of an appropriation of an object without the possibility of alienation, that we may turn our attention.


Pig festival, singsing, Tsembaga: sugar cane, bananas and other food gifts for Tuguma visitors, Roy Rappaport Papers. MSS 0516. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego

 Sacred objects and the gift

 One of the hardest challenges of the anthropological understanding is the capacity to conceive not just the economy of the gift as a mechanism of exchange, but the gift-giving as a procedural and ambivalent practice endowed with an eminently moral organization of human and non-human relationships. The discussion – which takes off from the 1923-1924 essay by Marcel Mauss, and through Levy Strauss and Marshall Sahlins lands in The enigma of the Gift of 1996 – reacts to some of the fundamental questions regarding symbol, prestige, imaginary and subject-object relationship inside material economies.

The debate is of huge proportion, so we must humbly partake in just a small part of it, taking for good some observations relevant to our discussion. The first we recall is from Maurice Godelier, which spent some time in showing how in the same socio-economic system the ways through which things, goods of any kind, and prestige are exchanged are at least three, and they act all simultaneously, even if in different proportion. No mechanism of exchange – gift-giving or monetary exchange or material tributes –, usually, is exclusive.

This brings us to a second observation, which takes on the kind and species of the thing exchanged and confronts it with the mechanism used to move the object, or to keep it unmovable. There may be objects which property can be changed only thanks to a certain kind of exchange, the only one possible. Here the discourse gets more complicated, as we draw from what said earlier, in the light of the fact that one must distinguish the property from the proximity to someone or someone else’s use. In certain cases, in fact, we must talk about the spatial disposition and movement of the object, rather than speaking of the change of property of something.

The third observation concerns what is truly exchanged with an object. As we said, together with the movement of an object also prestige, symbols and imaginary consumption passes from the giver to the receiver. So we must admit that we may not see what is truly exchanged just looking at the materiality of the object exchanged. This brings us to the main point of this paragraph: who are the actors involved in any kind of exchange? Can be there an exchange – so to say – a relation building process, even when an object doesn’t move? And finally, is there something that cannot be exchanged at all?

The gift is a kind of exchanged object that in this regard constitutes a starting point of our reasoning. Different from how we currently conceive the ordinary transmission of use of an object – whatever this use is – the gift-giving challenges the Eurocentric way of understanding exchange. What interests us is the fact that with such an institute the economic sphere merges with all the others concerning society, showing how economics in general may not be separate from morality, religion and nature as our system often states. As it is well known, in fact, one of the main points of Mauss is the fact that we must recognize that in our social system the economy and the moral code are dominated by market and profit, while the gift-giving system is much more dependent on the power of the moral code put in place during the gift-exchange ceremonies or potlaches. For him, the moral code was pretty much performative, which means that was something at the same time aleatory – imaginative – and material. In fact, it is no case that he ended up in finding in the gift itself, in the materiality of the thing, the evidence of a specific power capable of activating the spiritual mechanism that gives birth to the obligation of the exchange.

22706445734With Levi-Strauss, the problem of subjectivity of the thing arose. If for Mauss the thing in the Maori society had to have an own power of attraction that moved the other things, for Levi-Strauss this meant that anthropologists had to rise a problem of objectivity regarding this explanation. So, rather than accept an unreasonable empirical explanation of the magic hau embodied in the thing, Levi-Strauss opted for the re-construction of the symbolic logic behind this kind of exchange. In the symbolic mental structures entwined with exchange between the natives, the anthropologist found the expression of the whole process of social-life building, that took place from the possibility to fulfill an empty signifier (the thing) with meaning. In this way, the status of the things exchanged – including women – was reduced to floating signifiers with only unconscious social duties to accomplish.

For Levi-Strauss, the concepts of mana and hau, used by Mauss as by the natives to explain why a thing was capable of social power, were functioning in order to fill a gap between the signifier and the signified. In the unconscious, it was exchange itself that gave shape to those societies – in Oceania as in North-West America. Thus, the way that the natives used to relate with the objects – to see in them mana or hau- was an exemplar case of false knowledge: their belief had to construct unconsciously a notion in order to understand the world. What he was saying is that there is always a non-equivalence or inadequacy between the two [signifier-totality and signified]… So in man’s effort to understand the world, he always disposes of a surplus of signification’ [5].

This non-equivalence [6] is probably what we were referring to at the beginning of this essay, and what Yan Thomas also analyzes when he speaks of the Sacred Objects which cannot be re-paid or valuate. Levi-Strauss, in fact, is saying that what the native knows is not what nature is. If this inadequacy is of religious matrix, as both Godelier and Levi-Strauss affirm, we must ask ourselves what does it add to this discourse this Yan Thomas’s sentence: ‘In this passage, in this leakage [from the sacred to the marketable], the categories of religion appear in their most explicit form as the inverse of Law’ [7].

I think that while Godelier would agree with the following implications of what Yan Thomas wrote, Levy Strauss may not. The idea that Thomas gives, in fact, is that it is not very much a matter of the difference between religion (superstition and false knowledge) and a scientific thinking, which language is more coherent with the naturality of things. If unconsciously the religious forms of exchange have given rise to a kind of contract, a social contract, then the language which is at work is just as lasting and as sacredly obliging than that of the Law. If we interpreted Godelier correctly, then, the inadequacy at the ‘knowing level’ called up by Levi-Strauss is surely no more relevant than the fact that every imaginative activity is just a ‘part of the production of all relationships that humans entertain with each other and which they establish with nature’ [8]. Following Godelier:

 «It is first and foremost the different ways humans imagine their relationships with each other and with what we call nature that distinguish societies and the periods during which some of them exist. But the imaginary cannot transform itself into the social, it cannot manufacture ‘society’ by existing on a purely ‘mental’ level. It must be ‘materialized’ in concrete relations which take on their form and content in institutions, and of course in the symbols which represent them and cause them to send messages back and forth, to communicate. When the imaginary is ‘materialized’ in social relationships, it becomes a part of social reality»[9].

I think these sentences of Godelier save the role of imaginary and belief – as forms of knowledge- in an institution-building sense. He shows, in my opinion, how the relationship with nature distinguishes societies but also how it is the materialization of this relationship that gives the role to language, rather than the symbolization of the imaginary. In this optic, the ‘social reality’ is belief as much it is religion and magic, or imagined Sacred Object or the gift, while it is at the same time as real as currency, profane objects, property and concrete male -grounded kinship relations. If ‘the problem is whether more adequate representations of this reality are constructed by positing that the symbolic dominates the imaginary or by assuming the converse’[10], Godelier partakes with this last option.

 The whole point of Godelier here is what probably inspired so much Yan Thomas. If we did not very much insist in the explanation of the Sacred Object and of the Gift it was for the lack of space. But we must see in the Gift a twin of the Sacred Object, in the same way as Yan Thomas explained their role in Ancient Roman Law. In fact, inside the receiving-while-giving system of the gift-exchange, a similar condition characterizes also this economy. Between the gifts, in fact, it is the existence of the inalienable objects, those gifts from the Gods that need to be kept, and not given, that allows to other objects to circulate. So, posing in the imaginary the ‘birthplace of all beliefs’, it is only thanks to the distinction between sacred and profane, thanks to a ‘twin belief’ that the materiality of reality is allowed to become current language. This is very much consistent with what Thomas says, when he argues that there a need for an exclusion for the things to appear real and tangible. As the Sacred Objects of Thomas, the Gift – the talismans which are not given – of Mauss and is a perfect example of this, but Godelier adds a further example drawn by a discourse of Joseph Goux on money.

Godelier, with Goux, notes how the political economic discourse didn’t have to wait for Lacan to be able to discover a highly privileged object of desire, so to say, an object which is continuously unattainable and elusive. Marx, in fact, already showed how the relationship of money with gold had a representational function, which under normal circumstances meant that gold doesn’t need necessarily to circulate. Gold could be safely kept in safe and let the representational nominal money spread in society. But money as a measure of value, under certain conditions, becomes something which reference to gold could be purely imaginative, and thus function as a substitute, a symbol. If the circulation of real gold could be suspended, then, the very notion of currency already witnessed that as an instrument of exchange, money itself had to be split in two places at the same time. The one in which it functions as a medium, and the other, prior or beyond exchange, ‘where it constitutes a stable reference point for measuring the value whatever circulates in these exchanges’. So, materially speaking, even if money is swept along by the movement of commodities, meanwhile it is immobilized, kept somewhere in the imaginary where it could be always be found a be used as a tool to measure reality.

The use of money, therefore, is strictly dependent on the notion of value. And yet, the exchange of values is not as simple as the exchange of money, for money itself is split between use and value. In this optic, the distinction between exchange value and value of usage is exactly what Godelier just described: the use is exchangeable only as long as it as some kind of adherence and reference to an idea of value. What here we must keep in mind, is that value is very much in the imaginative world, and that in order to be referenced there must be something of it which is un-comprehensible, inaccessible and unpayable.

9780226300450Exchange-value or labor

 Our question, now, is: what is this place where money can imaginatively rest, where the things is always a thing and not a res, and where the Gift is something absolutely non-repayable? This question may also be formulated as: where does the things which we cannot appropriate come from? Our idea, here, is to find a common place that links all these three examples, and we think we don’t have to go much far: it is their nature of Matter, ‘given’ and not incorporable.

For Godelier the notion that Mauss failed to deepen adequately is the one that can explain where ‘value’ originates and rests as a moral point to which the current exchange of any kind – objects, money and social relations – can refer to. It is the ‘fourth obligation’, the one relative to the fact that some gifts – like honor, prestige, power and general wealth – derive directly from the gods, and for that reasons the clans are obliged to ‘sacrifice’ some goods to them. Godelier explicitly points out that are these kinds of practices – the destroying and the sacrifice of objects – that allows to the other objects to circulate in the gift and non-gift economy. But the French anthropologist also criticizes Mauss for not having taken enough seriously the part where the natives say that the true owners of the gifts are the gods and the spirits of nature. And that’s where we’re heading to.

For Godelier, in fact, an un-repayable indebtedness to the Gods and to the spirits of nature is the starting point of the ‘imaginary structure which enables caste and class to crystallize’. Similarly to the fact that the original property of the gifted-objects cannot be removed, constituting a social reality that has to be taken as such, the gifts from the spirits and the Gods have a divine property which cannot be overcome. So, if we follow Godelier in taking this seriously, we must see that what in the gift is un-repayable is exactly this character of property embodied in the object. From the ethnographic sources we learn the condition of reciprocal concurrent superiority and indebtedness between two parties having a gift-exchange. This because the thing is given without really being ‘alienated’ by the giver, and for the divine things remains the same discourse, entailing the necessity to constantly carry out rites and sacrifices. This spiritual essence of certain things – those having a part of the original owner inside – is the constitutive reason of the inalienable part of the object, making them part of a social reality which, in some ways, constitutes the ‘third party’ present in every exchange – be it between men, clans, or between humans and Gods.

The idea of Maurice Godelier, which we’ll not follow much further, is that the effect of these religious beliefs and representations is to:

 «propose an interpretation of the world and of human institutions in which, when all causes and origins have at least been explained, things have taken the place of humans, the objects have become the subjects, objects manufactured and exchanged by human beings have become objects made by gods and freely given, out of generosity, to a few distant ancestors of the people living today, preserved in memory […]. We know that religious beliefs not only are part of this world, but in part make this world. They do this in such a a way that they efface another part of it, by replacing real humans with imaginary duplicates, stand-ins who act in their stead» [11].

The objects becoming subjects and the objects coming freely from the Gods, after all, refers to the same very in-appropriable part that we already found in the ‘twin foundations’ of the things – and language. A part of them is not marketable: their Matter, so to say, their ‘aleatory’ value of exchange and the non-commodified material labor-art they embody. These qualities are, as said, non-marketable in a direct way, or in none at all, because they are imaginative – even when the rareness or scarcity of a particular thing may lead to think that is its materiality to be valuable. It is the un-appropriable Matter, rather, that is not valuable, the one that is excluded from being considered a tangible materiality.


Poussin, Dance around the Golden Calf (1633, London National Gallery)

Here, Godelier shifts to our economic commodity system: even the accumulated money is a product of production. The commodities sold may be material or immaterial. But ‘the specific concrete reality of each commodity is important only insofar as its use underpins an exchange-value and this is transformed into money which generates money, in other words capital’ [12]. And the fetishism of the gifted objects corresponds that of commodities inasmuch the gifted object has become in part inalienable becoming-subjects, becoming a part of the person who produced it, or owned it originally. The commodities, in their own way, are the objects of a system where the persons are treated as objects: ‘in each case the real relations people entertain with the objects they produce, exchange (keep) have vanished, disappeared from their consciousness, and other forces, other, this time imaginary, actors have replaced the human being who originally produced them’ [13].

The third actor, then, the ‘social reality’ – imaginative and yet present in every thing that is conceived as a res, also embodies the relations of production which have become mystified during the transformation of the un-appropriable materiality of the object into a marketable one. The relations of exploitation and dominations to which we refer, then, are those between humans, but also those between humans and natural entities. Where the spiritual, imaginative part of the thing have become the part of the object owned by the gods or by the natural spirits, or a mystified image of the labor needed for the production of the object,  the doubleness of the thing is instituted and accredited in order for anything to be possessed and measured in a usable and exchangeable way.

The Politics of Nature, in this framework, are those who embody the materialization of an imaginative status of the things. What distinguishes different kinds of economic politics, than, is the role assigned to the part of the thing that is misled and mystified. In the religious practice of gift-giving, this part of the object becomes the foundation of the gift-exchange, always bringing in the transaction the presence of the material and un-appropriable nature of the things, dwelled into sacred entities, gods and spirits. Going back to the subject-object relationship conceivable in a certain order of property, then, we see how Godelier considers the sacralization of the object as a metamorphosis of reality. The belief in the souls of thing alters Nature, creating with appearance or meaning relations where ‘the cause becomes the effect, the means becomes the agent, the agent becomes the means ant the object becomes the subject’ [14].  This is coherent with the fact that in our system the use-value of a commodity is useful only as long as it is capable of permitting the selling and the buying of the intellectual or manual labor involved in process of the production and circulation of the object/commodity. To do so, means to be capable to support the social-building role of any economic exchange, which is the exchange-value, without which money could not produce other money and thus capital. The difference between gift-exchange society and our market-driven one is how much of personal, personified and subjective is seen in the social relation of power governing the exchange. In other words, how far and distanced from human labor and natural origin the use-value of an object can be conceived.

dsc00178Giorgio Agamben, in Gusto, shows how ancient knowledge and science rely on different objects of knowledge. Where the former is capable of distributing itself on the necessity of its own significations, the latter is limited to adhere to its signifiers. A different relationship between signification and natural reality is at work: ancient knowledge has no necessary subject and can only be recognized. The second denies the possibility of knowing without a subject. In this way, a full field, which is not represented only by the symbolic, but rather by Matter itself, the field of the un-appropriable part of the object/subject, doubled only insofar it could be introduced in the human language of law and commerce, is left aside and dropped. If the materiality is without subject for its elusiveness and inalienability, science instead, denying the possibility of knowing without subject, speaks exactly of excluding from its epistemological plan what is not possible to possess or say. The fact that Agamben follows the Levi-Strauss’ discourse, I think can be comprehended with his intention to show the radical difference moving between semiotics and semantics, where the first has no subject, and the second has one, and has it reasonably. Furthermore, this allows Agamben to affirm the incapacity of science to fulfill the excess-signifier. From our point of view, the materialization of the relationship of humans with nature into the ‘social reality’, then, will always be moved by an imaginative and apparent part as that dictated by the abundance of signifiers. The symbols, on the other side, build up social relations and they cannot represent ‘the zero symbolic value’, or ‘a pure signifier which indicated simply the need of a symbolic additional content and a supplementary pleasure’ [15].

In the commodity, Agamben would say, is located the pleasure which cannot be enjoyed (il piacere di cui non si gode). Of the commodity we must evaluate, to understand the fetish feature of the value-form, not much the use-value, but rather the exchange-value, so to say, the one that in the object cannot be grasped and manipulated. But not the money, neither the mana of Levi-Strauss, are ‘pure relation without content’, insofar they materialize, in any way, a precise relationship of the humans with the goods, the space, the use and the nature. On the contrary, looking at the money and the Joseph Goux’s example, we already observed how it is precisely the un-appropriability of gold as currency, its exclusion, that founds the tangibility of commerce: they materialize utility. Put in other words, the exclusion of the intangible part of gold as material currency, or even representational money, means to produce a new signified with which feed the modern economic science. But, no news, this would be no less than a(nother) representation. So, it is starting from this condition that the Western people and modern economy have until now gave shape to the world.

 Ecosystem Commodity Service

Briefly, we will draw from a long Marx’s quotation the relevant arguments that will lead us to the extreme forms of commodification- rendered possible only by the refining of our scientific knowledge.

«Già nella proprietà fondiaria feudale la signoria sulla terra si presenta come una potenza estranea al di sopra degli uomini. Il servo della gleba è un elemento accidentale della terra. Lo stesso signore di un maggiorasco, il figlio primogenito, appartiene alla terra. Essa lo eredita. In generale la signoria della proprietà privata comincia con la proprietà fondiaria; la quale ne costituisce la base. Ma nel possesso fondiario feudale il signore appare per lo meno come il re del possesso fondiario. Parimenti esiste ancora l’apparenza di un rapporto tra il possessore e la terra, più intimo di quello implicito in una ricchezza composta semplicemente di beni materiali. Il fondo acquista la propria individualità insieme col suo signore; ed ha il proprio rango, è baronale o comitale insieme con lui, ha i propri privilegi, la propria giurisdizione, i propri rapporti politici, ecc. Appare come il corpo inorganico del suo signore. Di qua il proverbio: ‘‘Nulle terre sans maître’’, dove è espressa la perfetta aderenza della signoria col possesso fondiario. Cosi pure, la signoria della proprietà fondiaria non si presenta immediatamente come signoria del puro e semplice capitale. Coloro che vi sono sottomessi stanno più in rapporto con essa che con la loro patria. E una specie ridotta di nazionalità» [16].

In this passage of the Manuscripts, Marx is considering a pre-capitalistic relationship between humans, power and land. He underlines how before the event of the commodity, the mastery of private property was founded on an intimate relationship between the owner and the land, a tie that went way beyond that of the mere possession of material goods. This was possible because the individual’s social status itself was strictly connected with the land possessed. The landlord acquired his rank only thanks to the rank proper of the land he owned, a land which had a kind of individuality itself. Land, even as the foreshadow of property and economic good, played an embodied social value which could be mirrored in the individual which exercised a power on it.

21642225016The intimate relation between master and land mentioned by Marx is somewhat similar to the intimate proportion between labor and land’s fruits known only by the farmer, which founds a first kind of reference measure of the nomos of the earth in Carl Schmitt’s discourse. It is an intimate relationship that is conceivable only under a framework inside which land is not merely a tool for profit, transformed in sole private property and commodity, but rather as something which has its own affectivity, possible only under a regime of reciprocal perception between humans and land. As we see, following Marx, this becomes very much different when the tie between land and master doesn’t pass through his and its individualities, but rather only through the master’s wallet:

 «[XVIII] È necessario che questa apparenza venga soppressa, che la proprietà fondiaria, la radice della proprietà privata, venga attratta interamente nel movimento della proprietà privata e si trasformi in merce, che la signoria del proprietario appaia come la signoria pura e semplice della proprietà privata, del capitale, spogliata di ogni valore politico, che il rapporto tra proprietario e lavoratore si riduca al rapporto economico tra sfruttatore e sfruttato, che ogni rapporto personale del proprietario con la sua proprietà venga meno e questa si trasformi in ricchezza puramente reale, materiale, che al posto del matrimonio onorifico con la terra subentri un matrimonio d’interesse, e la terra decada a valore venale, non diversamente dall’uomo. È necessario che appaia pur nella sua forma cinica ciò che costituisce la radice della proprietà fondiaria, lo sporco egoismo. È necessario che il monopolio in istato di quiete si capovolga nel monopolio in istato di movimento e di irrequietezza, cioè nella concorrenza, che il godimento ozioso dell’altrui sudore di sangue si capovolga in un intenso traffico con lo stesso. È alla fine necessario che in questa concorrenza la proprietà fondiaria sotto forma di capitale mostri la sua signoria tanto sulla classe dei lavoratori quanto sui proprietari stessi, essendo che le leggi del moto del capitale o li mandano in rovina o li innalzano. Così, al posto del proverbio medievale: ‘‘Nulle terre sans seigneur’’, vale quell’altro: ‘‘L’argent n’a pas de maître’’, dove si esprime la completa signoria sull’uomo da parte della materia colpita a morte» [17].

This passage is useful to our discourse inasmuch as it expresses the movement that detaches from land the possibility of being attributed with a value different from that of the economic one. And in this passage, we read some words we already encountered in this paper, such as appearance, social-building relationships, labor and enjoyment. But what is more important, is that Marx sees in the capital something capable of master not just the workers, but also the owners of the land. It is in the end of his point on Land Revenue that he shows us the shift from a pre-capitalist kind of thinking, to the capitalistic one: Money don’t have a master. Surprisingly, for Marx, at the end it is a hit-to-death Matter that obtained a complete mastery over the humans.

For lack of space, we must go a little fast. We would like to consider again the role of the subject-object relationship, intended as the whole set of which ‘conceivable’ ways inside a culture exists to relate with nature. We want to draw from non-capitalistic manners of conceiving land some considerations. First, even in Western society, which are believed to be rational since a long time, subjectivity and affectivity, even agency, were qualities attributed to inanimate things, not only Land. But as Yan Thomas and Carl Schmitt showed, Land is not just a thing like the others, because it is a paradigm of Space, of Performativity. There was, some would say, a kind of respect to be paid to somewhat which couldn’t be appropriated, first of all for the lack of the capacity to act on it, to measure it, or even to conceive it as a whole rational system as we do today. This respect was paid founding society on those natural items and entities which were ungraspable like Space, Time or even a wider but more precise form of spirituality. For the same reason, we already saw, some things had to be metamorphically rendered just like those entities, ungraspable, in order for common things to be traded.

It is not out of range to speak about an attitude of societies characterized by a whole animistic sense of spirituality. The level of ‘life’, as underlined at the beginning of the paper, was not already so rationalized even in Western culture and it is just with modernity that Law formally adopted a confused notion of subject, melting together soul and the rights of the individual. As Yan Thomas writes, the history of modern law witnessed a double process of ‘incarnation and naturalization on the one side, and separation and abstraction of juridical person on the other side’. We believe, following this tradition, that the plan of life has been rationalized also through the shaping of modern labor-exploitation relations. Through them, the politics of Nature constituted a paradigm for entities which were external to humans. It is well explained in this passage of Thomas:

 «It is this, in particular, the juridical regime of non-waged handwork labor: the Matter that the artisan produce falls in his property as soon as a shape comes out of his hands because, before existing, how a text from the Ist century of our era says, this shape was not belonging to anyone – the oeuvre contract functions exactly to divert the property of the thing produces towards the one who ordered it, versus a price given to the one who produced it. This is also the juridical regime of nature» [18].

This is concurrent also with what is wrote later on the book, when Thomas explains that a damage done to a Sacred Thing cannot be repaid for its value, but just for its use. And something subtracted from the collectivity in penal right theory could be repaid with any amount of money, but under the hat of civil Law, only a restitution in nature of the thing subtracted or damaged was conceivable. The peculiar material value of the thing taken into consideration was not measurable, and what was repayable with money was just the work of the artisan needed to build again the same very thing.

Our point here is that inside such subject-object relation, persists the impossibility to evaluate with monetary revenue every thing of reality, something which today seems to be diverted by the phenomenon of the Ecosystem Services. A problem we would like to address directly, in fact: the bottom idea is that the ecosystem itself produces a service, or rather, a whole set of services, which makes possible, between other things like life itself, the economic activities. The problem was in the impossibility, precisely, to define the boundaries and the circumstantiality of such a complex mechanism. If somebody, though, was able to cut a portion of space and consider the ecosystem inside it, and categorize the different forces at work, then, we would be handling a different situation. And this is the case: with a good dose of approximation, in fact, and simplification, the process of reification has thus already started.

‘Uni-dimensioned, flattered, abstracted and dematerialized’, Nature has lost another piece of its secrets to modernity. And we come to our conclusion with this quote from geographer Sian Sullivan, drawing in particular from the sentence we put in evidence:

 «The idiotic fallacy at the heart of these proposals is that markets do not in and of themselves embody or produce moral behaviour. Markets do not care if rainforests fall, if glaciers shrink, or if the values of indigenous cultures are displaced or captured in the service of capitalism; and it seems to be mad to think that it is only their correct construction, for instance through pricing mechanisms, that will prevent the manifestation of these losses. When nature health becomes converted into a dollar sign, it is the dollar not the nature that is valued. Declining commodities may assume high market values, but zero-availability, for example through extinction, equates with no value at all, becoming simply an opportunity for innovation to supply alternatives (if required). And since the ‘free-market’ is an emergent property of the dance of multiple commodity values, exchanges and other influencing factors, there is nothing intrinsic to this system to uphold the values of environmental health relative to the unpredictably shifting values of other commodities» [19].

Cacciata dei Mercanti, Giotto, Cappella degli Scrovegni, 1305

Conclusion: the Order of Property, Caducity and the Image

 A little fast, but we have come to our last item: accumulation and the commodity fetishism. As Sian Sullivan wrote, the de-materialization of nature has gone to its excesses. Still, following a Marxist logic, we see how this path has been rendered possible thanks to the innovation system underpinning it. The techniques have become capable to seize the numbers from nature, to trap them inside schemes and to discern between the diverse functions the whole entities of forests, seas, soils and marshes play. Or, at least, we modernly think so. What we mean is that, of course, we just unlocked the possibility of representing those functions, in order to trade and get paid for them. It is no accident that this operation is seek by African States, which have entire meaningful portions of space where these very important ecosystems are located. There is a colonial agency behind this kind of requests, a desperate research for funds to keep up with the global economies. So, our unresolved question may be: if Nature, this very significant nature especially for sub-Saharan communities, becomes marketable, what and how will be kept as the un-appropriable Thingness of things?

This question takes us somewhere else. Another question arises, in fact: How much monetarization can be mimetic? So to say, how much will the equivalence between ecosystem service and money work? The locations, the things and the values that are melted in forests, sometimes even personified as they are endowed with subjectivity; is it right to consider them substantively incommensurable? An answer not to this question, but rather to how this process would happen, is provided by Sian Sullivan herself:

 «As with the conceptual and political alchemy that transforms land into property, these de-territorialising phenomena also permit new captures and territorialisations. This is because, for these ideational values to be realized, the material natures to which they relate need to be enclosed and owned: to become property. So whilst this indeed might be a new and globally nomadic wave of primitive accumulation, it is still primitive accumulation, providing further routes via which nature and people are compelled to service capital and the ethnic-rich» [20].

The problem of accumulation arises as long as with the sole idea of the Ecosystem Commodity Service humans are trying to give a value to a work carried out by Nature. A value of use, of course, is not yet conceivable to me, but maybe it is measurable to the best economists. The need for accumulation through the creation of the ‘environmental work’ product, seems here pretty coherent with what we have outlined until now, and with what Marx wrote in respect to Hegel.

«‘‘Nel punto di vista teologico-finito si trova il giusto presupposto che la natura non contiene in se stessa il fine assoluto’’. Il suo fine è la conferma dell’astrazione. ‘‘La natura si è determinata come l’idea nella forma dell’esser-altro. Poiché l’idea è in tal modo negazione di se stessa ed è esterna a se stessa, la natura non è esterna soltanto relativamente rispetto a questa idea, ma l’esteriorità costituisce la determinazione in cui essa è come natura’’. L’esteriorità non si deve qui intendere come la sensibilità che si estrinseca, e si apre alla luce, all’uomo sensibile; bensì questa esteriorità è qui da assumere nel senso dell’alienazione, di un errore, di un difetto che non dovrebbe essere. Infatti, il vero è ancor sempre l’idea. La natura non è altro che la forma del suo esser-altro. E poiché il pensiero astratto è ciò che è, ciò che è esterno a lui è essenzialmente soltanto un qualcosa di esterno. Il pensatore astratto riconosce ad un tempo che la sensibilità è l’essenza della natura, l’esteriorità in opposizione al pensiero che si muove in se stesso. Ma nello stesso tempo esprime questa opposizione in modo che questa esteriorità della natura è l’opposizione della natura al pensiero, la sua deficienza, e che essa è, in quanto distinta dall’astrazione, un essere deficiente. [XXXIV] Un essere deficiente non solo per me, ai miei occhi, ma anche in se stesso, ha fuori di sé qualcosa che gli manca. Vale a dire, il suo essere è altro da se stesso. Per il pensatore astratto quindi la natura deve sopprimersi da sé, essendo già da lui posta come un essere potenzialmente soppresso»[21].

With this quote, in fact, we may have found what would be finally rendered Sacred and non-attainable with the becoming-marketable of the environments and ecosystems: externality itself. It is just as we finally admitted that we are distinct, or rather that our rational and economic mind is the final distinction of humans from what produces life.

And yet, we believe that humans cannot be detached for good from the plan of life. We could bring back the discourse on imaginary and the role of symbols, where the social relations built around them are already materialized. But we rather follow Marx when he speaks about sensibility, for it is ‘the essence of nature, the exteriority opposing thought’. Nature, here, is a being potentially suppressed only as long it is abstracted. Something which happens daily, and that would happen even more with Ecosystem Commodity Services. Yet, if Nature is also a sensuous materialization of our ‘social reality’, then:

«We need to note also that as the commodity passes through and is held by the exchange-value arc of the market circuit where general equivalence rules the roost, where all particularity and sensuousity is meat-grindered into abstract identity and the homogenous substance of quantifiable money-value, the commodity yet conceals in its innermost being not only the mysteries of the socially constructed nature of value  and price, but also all its particulate sensuousity-and this subtle interaction of sensuous perceptibility and imperceptibility accounts for the fetish quality, the animism and spiritual glow of commodities, so adroitly channeled by advertising (not to mention the avant-garde) since the late nineteenth century» [22].

To find the Baruya Story. Maurice Godelier on the field in 1969

In society always remains a value of sensuousness in the imaginary, even with commodities. The images appearing in place of the subjective work, tough, will keep swallowing up the original in favor of a commodified copy of it. It is the exteriority of nature which would be rendered so much more distant and harder to grasp in this process, becoming covered with a fog of ‘profane illumination’. This would bring ourselves even more morgan deep in the commodity reign. The process of selling representations and appearances of the things, rather than considering the labor embodied in them, would become more and more founded on accumulation. In fact, it is no case that this idea of commodifying environments (which is different from tourism, because the Ecosystem service looks at the natural mechanisms, rather than the aesthetics of landscape), came up right now, where the perception of risk – we said something about this at the beginning – and scarcity of environmental resources arose brutally.

 We conclude, then, with a beautiful quote: we would also like to reason, in fact, on the process of reification with which the antecedent life of things before being inserted inside Law becomes, suddenly, caducous. What matters, once we appropriate the object, is not the life of the thing before Law, but what awaits it. So, we must see in any order of property a protest of the humans to our own caducity, in front of the eternality and the survival of the inanimate objects. But also, we must not forget, that it is out of any order of property that we can only build our home, if the ‘thing itself’ must be recognized as irreducible, and if on that isolated ‘irriducibile ipseità’ the city founded itself.

 «Il carattere di proprietà compete a ogni bene limitato nell’ordine spazio-temporale come espressione della sua caducità. La proprietà, in quanto è imprigionata nella stessa finitezza, è, tuttavia, sempre ingiusta. Per questo nessun ordine di proprietà, comunque lo si voglia concepire, può condurre alla giustizia. Questa consiste piuttosto nella condizione di un bene, che non può essere appropriato. Questo solo è il bene, in virtù del quale i beni diventano senza possesso»[23].
Dialoghi Mediterranei, n. 40, novembre 2019
 [*] Abstract
Le Politiche della Natura raccolgono il paradigma giuridico concepito come segno di una relazione eminentemente ecologica, a partire da una considerazione materialista (traslata in parte da Maurice Godelier) del rapporto tra il lavoro e i beni a cui si può avere accesso tramite il lavoro. Attraverso le fertili considerazioni espresse nel diritto romano, il cui studio lega Marcel Mauss a Yan Thomas, si intraprende un dialogo interdisciplinare tra varie aree dell’antropologia della cultura materiale, della filosofia del diritto così come della giurisprudenza, e le teorie economiche tipiche del dibattito marxista. Al centro della discussione, infatti, vi è la problematizzazione antropologica e filosofica della relazione tra soggetto e oggetto all’interno di date culture, e si sviluppa lungo tutto il testo il tentativo di inserire questa relazione culturalizzata al confronto con le dinamiche dello scambio, del commercio e della proibizione (o sacralizzazione). La proposta che tiene insieme i diversi argomenti trattati (un percorso che muove dal Dono per giungere alla odierna discussione intorno alla mercificazione dei Servizi Ecosistemici) è la tesi sostenuta da Giorgio Agamben oltre che da Yan Thomas, ovvero il paradosso secondo il quale si afferma che sia un’esclusione ad essere l’elemento fondante di ogni struttura sociale, e persino all’origine del linguaggio. Muovendo tra concetti quali ‘la Materia’ e ‘lo Spazio’, l’autore prova a mostrare come ogni ordine di proprietà sia il segno specifico della particolare relazione (simbolica o ontologica) stabilitasi tra soggetto ed oggetto, con al suo centro il problema della caducità degli esseri umani rispetto alle cose.
[1] Michael Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses, Routdlege, Londra e New York, 1993: 45; paraphrasing Adorno in Max Horkheimer and T. W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (New York: Continuum, 1987): 17.
[2] Yan Thomas, Il valore delle cose, Quodlibet, a cura di M. Spanò, Macerata, 2015: 30.
[3] Ibidem: 45.
[4] Yan Thomas, Il valore delle cose, cit.: 55-56.
[5] Claude Lèvi-Strauss, Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1987: 62.
[6] The law of equivalence will permit us to address the production of a definition, or of an image of the real object in order to make it part of a founding social and juridical discourse.
[7] Yan Thomas, Il valore delle cose, cit.: 53.
[8] Maurice Godelier, The enigma of the Gift, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1999: 24.
[9] Ibidem: 27.
[10] Ibidem
[11] Maurice Godelier, The enigma of the Gift, cit.: 71
[12] Maurice Godelier, The enigma of the Gift, cit.: 70.
[13] Ibidem: 70-71.
[14] Ibidem: 106.
[15] Giorgio Agamben, Gusto, Quodilibet, Macerata, 2015: 51.
[16] Karl Marx, Manoscritti economico-filosofici del 1844, a cura di Norberto Bobbio, Einaudi, Torino, 2004: 60.
[17] Karl Marx, Manoscritti economico-filosofici del 1844, cit.: 61.
[18] Yan Thomas, Il valore delle cose, cit.:54, (traduzione nostra).
[19] Sullivan, Sian, ‘Ecosystem Service Commodities’ – A New Imperial Ecology? Implications for Animist Immanent Ecologies, with Deleuze and Guattari, New Formations, n.69: 111-128, 2010: 127.
[20] ibidem.
[21] Karl Marx, Manoscritti economico-filosofici del 1844, cit.: 176-177.
[22] Michael Taussig, 1993, Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses, cit.: 22-23.
[23] Tiedemann R., a cura di, Frankfurter Adorno Blätter, vol. IV, München 1995: 41, citato in G. Agamben, L’uso dei corpi, Neri Pozza, Vicenza 2014: 115.
 Giorgio Agamben, Gusto, Quodilibet, Macerata, 2015
 Maurice Godelier, The enigma of the Gift, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1999
 Maurice Godelier, Introduzione a Polanyi K. (a cura di), Traffici e mercati negli antichi imperi, Torino, Einaudi, 1978: IX-XLIV
 Claude Lèvi-Strauss, Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1987, 2015
 Karl Marx, Manoscritti economico-filosofici del 1844, a cura di Norberto Bobbio, Einaudi, Torino, 2004
 Marcel Mauss, Saggio sul dono, Einaudi, Torino, 2002
 Sian Sullivan, «’Ecosystem Service Commodities’ – A New Imperial Ecology? Implications for Animist Immanent Ecologies, with Deleuze and Guattari», New Formations, n.69, 2010: 111-128.
Michael Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses, Routdlege, Londra e New York, 1993
Giacomo Todeschini, «Valore del tempo consacrato e prezzo del tempo commerciabile: le dialettiche dello scambio nel basso medioevo», in Sentimento del tempo e periodizzazione della storia nel Medioevo, Atti del XXXVI Convegno Storico Internazionale, Todi, 10-12 ottobre 1999, Spoleto, 2000: 233-256
 Giacomo Todeschini, R. Greco, G. Pinto, Economie urbane ed etica economica nell’Italia medievale, Laterza, Bari, 2005
 Yan Thomas, Il valore delle cose, Quodlibet, a cura di M. Spanò, Macerata, 2015


Enrico Milazzo, si è prima laureato in Scienze Storiche a Roma dove è nato, con una tesi riguardante il rapporto tra le strutture del linguaggio e la storia, ha poi conseguito il titolo magistrale in Antropologia Culturale ed Etnologia a Torino. In modo interdisciplinare ha affrontato il tema della critica istituzionale su diversi piani, concentrandosi in particolare sulla violenza della denominazione e della razionalizzazione dell’esperienza, prima nel programma di cliniche legali e di supporto medico del Centro Franz Fanon a Torino, quindi con la sua tesi di ricerca riguardante il dramma della diffusione del batterio Xylella fastidiosa. Dopo la ricerca di campo in Puglia, durata nove mesi durante il 2018, attualmente frequenta a Torino l’International University College, il cui programma mette al centro sia la difesa e il supporto clinico-legale alle minoranze che lo studio delle teorie delle istituzioni occidentali. Ad oggi è dottorando in Studi Storici, Geografici ed Antropologici presso l’Università di Verona, Padova e Ca’ Foscari Venezia.





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