Bioeconomy strategies envision economies which use only renewable resources in their economic activities. Biomass shall become a crucial raw material according to these visions and strategies.


Economies are institutions which should be designed such as to enable human flourishing. Visions of economy depend therefore on the underlying conceptions of human flourishing (a good life). This holds for bioeconomy visions and strategies as well. So far, bioeconomy visions and strategies have been articulated mainly by institutionalized agents from the Global North. They all are based on conceptions of human flourishing and ethical attitudes towards appropriate use of biomass and arable lands which are prevalent in these regions.

However, there are plenty of ways how to specify bioeconomy visions which differ

• in their conceptions of human flourishing and

• in attitudes regarding the appropriate role of biomass and arable lands for generation of human flourishing and for other morally justified goals (flourishing of nun-human animals, flourishing of future generations).

Bioeconomy Visions from the Global North

This project is motivated by the quest for ethical attitudes on human flourishing and relationships between human and non-human world which have been invisible in dominant bioeconomy discourses.


Are there conceptions of human flourishing and attitudes towards land-use which have been neglected so far within the Euro-Atlantik discourses on bioeconomy?

If there are competing conceptions of human flourishing, all of which are reasonable, how should humanity choose which conception to pursue?


Empirical Research

This project is motivated by the quest for ethical attitudes on human flourishing and relationships between human and non-human world which have been invisible in dominant bioeconomy discourses.

Research Goals

Its primary goal consists in identification of conceptions of desirable land-use and ways of life of smallholder peasants.


• farmers and
• pastoralists

Its further goal consists in an analysis of policy mechanisms by which certain positions in bioeconomy related fields become politically dominant in Tanzania.


• land-use policies
• policies regarding genetically modified crops (GMCs)


Anthropological field research in Tanzania

PHASE 1: Summer 2020
  • Field Stage in Monduli District of Arusha (September 2020)
    • Interviews with Maasai pastoralists about their conceptions of a good life
  • Field Stage among smallholder farmers: cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Alternative to the field stage with smallholder farmers:
    • Online interviews with academics and representatives of smallholder farmers on land-use conceptions
PHASE 2: Summer 2022
  • Field Stage with Maasai pastoralists, Arusha region
  • Field Stage with smallholder farmers, Arusha and Kilimanjaro region

Research in Ethics

Bioeconomy visions and strategies implicitly make commitments on what constitutes human flourishing and appropriate relationships between human and non-human living world.

Bioeconomy strategies and visions presuppose normative commitments. For instance, if a strategy assumes that the amount of economic activities in a bioeconomy will remain the same as in the current Western economies (and that only the raw materials will differ), it implicitly presupposes that the current amount of economic activities is a desirable and sustainable feature. If a strategy assumes that additional biomass and even living organisms will be used as raw materials, it presupposes that it is morally appropriate to use biomass and certain living organisms for human purposes.

The normative analysis aims at:

IDENTIFICATION of controversial normative commitments which are implicitly assumed in policy papers published in the Global North but also implicitly hold by farmers in the Global South

RECONSTRUCTION of the reasons by which these normative commitments can be justified

REFLECTION on how a global bioeconomy ought to be designed in the light of a plurality of underlying normative conceptions which are all in certain sense reasonable but contested.

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