Most of the available studies on commodity chains and upgrading pursue a narrow economic view. This paper points to the need for mapping the social linkages of production and movement of commodities. In relation to upgrading, the paper emphasizes the importance of looking at their social implications. Toward these goals, the paper advances the idea of socially embedding the commodity chain. The idea is demonstrated by examining, from a long-run historical perspective, the global coir yarn commodity chain of southern India.