Martín Arboleda

Martín Arboleda is based at the School of Sociology, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile. His research program is articulated on the basis of an engagement with the fields of global political economy, urban political ecology, and agrarian studies. His work explores the geographies of primary commodity production in Latin America (particularly mining and agriculture), especially as East Asian economies emerge as the new pivot of the capitalist world-system, and extractive industries become reorganized in the form of global supply chains. His forthcoming book, titled Planetary Mine: Territories of Extraction in the Fourth Machine Age (Verso, 2019), proposes an expanded conception of extraction that grasps the territorial organization of primary commodity production as it unfolds across transnational space. This entails extending the level of analysis of extractive processes to also encompass the role of logistical infrastructures, spaces of urbanization, maritime transport systems, technocratic governance, and financial intermediation, among other elements of the spatial division of labor. He is also interested on the political possibilities enabled by new formations of social mobilization against the expansion of primary commodity frontiers.

Currently, he is working on a project that seeks to illuminate the existing relation between the reorganization of the agro-food supply chain and the emergence of a globalizing, urban-rural movement under the banners of a post-capitalist science of food production (i.e. agroecology), and of popular self-determination via the notion of food sovereignty. In dialogue with recent discussions on concrete utopias and possible urban futures, and through an empirically-grounded analysis of Chile’s food system, this research project intends to decipher the limits and possibilities that agroecology entails for the democratic, collective construction of alternative urban environments. Martín completed his PhD in Politics at the University of Manchester, UK, in 2015, with a thesis that addressed the contested geographies of planetary urbanization in a mining and energy district of northern Chile. During the 2016-2018 period, he was an Urban Studies Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow based at the Harvard GSD. He continues his work with the UTL through a long-term project to develop a geo-comparative, multimedia study of operational landscapes of planetary urbanization whose point of departure is the Atacama Desert.

Selected publications


Forthcoming. Planetary Mine: Territories of Extraction in the Fourth Machine Age. Verso, London and New York.


Forthcoming. Circuitos de extracción: Urbanización logística, poder estatal y el metabolismo transpacífico de la gran minería en Chile. Investigaciones Geográficas.

2018. Market Monstrosity in Industrial Fishing: Capital as Subject and the Urbanization of Nature. Social & Cultural Geography 19(1), 120-138 (with Daniel Banoub).

2017. On the Alienated Violence of Money: Finance Capital, Value, and the Making of Monstrous Territories. New Geographies 09: Posthuman, 95-101.

2017. La naturaleza como modo de existencia del capital: organización territorial y disolución del campesinado en el superciclo de materias primas de América Latina. Anthropologica 38, 145-176.

2016. Revitalizing Science and Technology Studies: A Marxian Critique of More-Than-Human Geographies. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 35(2), 360-378.

2016. Spaces of Extraction, Metropolitan Explosions: Planetary Urbanization and the Commodity Boom in Latin America. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 40(1), 96-112.

2015. Financialization, Totality and Planetary Urbanization in the Chilean Andes. Geoforum 67, 4-13. 


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Martín Arboleda in Santiago de Chile