This paper argues for understanding the regulation and standardization of objects as fundamentally about “adding” to those objects rather than reducing or simplifying them. The analysis is based on the ethnographic study of regulatory politics in Paraguayan soybean production over the course of two decades in which the Paraguayan state increased its regulatory capacity immensely. By looking at very different forms of regulatory intervention, it shows that each regulatory moment can best be understood as a “translation” which adds to the complexity of the objects in question by adding new actors and concerns to their circulation. This provides a more dynamic way of understanding the politics of regulation than more common approaches that see regulation as technical and depoliticizing.


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pp. 55-78
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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