The research project "Bioeconomy and Social Inequalities. Transnational Entanglements and Interdependencies in the Bioenergy Sector" (BioInequalities) was completed in July 2022.
The junior research group (JRG) “Bioeconomy and Inequalities. Transnational Entanglements and Interdependencies in the Bioenergy Sector” (BioInequalities), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), conducted research at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena from July 2016 to July 2022. The eight participating researchers explored the question of how the promotion of the bioeconomy affects existing socio-ecological relations of inequality and, conversely, how it is shaped by them.
In their empirical, qualitative studies the JRG analysed subsidies policies in the area of bioenergies. A special study focus was placed on developments in the agricultural sectors that already supply the bulk of the required biomass today (esp. soybean, palm oil, and sugar). The regions under scrutiny included South America (Argentina, Brazil), Southeast Asia (Malaysia), and Western Europe (Germany). In addition, the material flows and trade relations between South America and the European Union as well as between South America and China were investigated.
Drawing on approaches from the sociology of global inequalities and world-systems theory, the JRG examined in its numerous studies a) the unequal global material flows between different countries, particularly between South America and Europe as well as between South America and China, b) the unequal knowledge production in Research and Development within and between the countries studied, c) the unequal participation of particular population groups in both the crisis diagnosis and the development of political and technological solutions in the case study countries and d) the unequal working conditions and land relations, especially in the investigated production regions of the Global South. All findings considered, the JRG concluded that the bioeconomy indicates a perpetuation of these social and ecological inequalities.
The research findings have been publicised in various Open Access publications. They can be found under Publications.
Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)External link within the framework of the funding programme "Bioeconomy as Societal Change 4+1".
For any queries, please contact Professor Maria Backhouse / University AugsburgExternal link