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The Incredible Edible Movement

People Power, Adaptation, and Challenges in Rennes (France) and Montreal (Canada)

Giulia Giacchè and Lya Porto

All over the world, different forms of urban food gardens (family gardens, school gardens, community gardens, allotment gardens, and so on) are flourishing. These initiatives vary in terms of space, actors, functions, and forms of organization. This article explores community garden typologies, focusing on Incredible Edible (IE) initiatives. We propose a theoretical discussion of IE initiatives and the differential adaptation of this model in contrasting contexts, specifically the city of Rennes, in France, and the city of Montreal, in Canada. The investigation of IE in both case studies is predicated on a qualitative methodological approach. A key conclusion is that the IE movement survives largely because of the input of volunteers. However, its longer-term sustainability requires resources and investment from municipal institutions if a real transition to edible cities is to be attained.

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The Politics of Greening the City

The Case of the Bostan of Kuzguncuk, Istanbul

Alice Genoud

The neighborhood of Kuzguncuk in Istanbul has been the theater of a 20-year struggle between the authorities and the local population concerning a green area present in the center of the district. This struggle was interesting as it concerned visions of green areas and more globally of society. The inhabitants wanted to have an open green and social area, whereas the centralized authority wanted to use this land for a profitable building project, without any consultation of the neighborhood. In 2015, a park was inaugurated on this land, the result of a compromise between political authorities and inhabitants of Kuzguncuk. Because of this compromise, this is a unique case, and it will be interesting to understand how different visions of green areas and societal values brought about a project such as that of Kuzguncuk.

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Stephen G. Sherwood and Myriam Paredes

Based on reflective practice over 15 years in Ecuador, the authors examine the perpetuation of knowingly harmful public policy in highly toxic pesticides. They study how actors cooperate, collude, and collide in advancing certain technological agenda, even when against public interests. Ultimately, entrenchment of perspective opened up space for arrival of new social actors and competing activity and transition. In light of struggles for sustainability, the authors find neglected policy opportunities in the heterogeneity of peoples' daily practices and countermovements, leading to a call for further attention to the inherently incoherent, complex, and irresolvable human face of sociotechnical change.

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Cropscapes and History

Reflections on Rootedness and Mobility

Francesca Bray, Barbara Hahn, John Bosco Lourdusamy and Tiago Saraiva

Crops are a very special type of human artifact, living organisms literally rooted in their environments. Crops suggest ways to embed rootedness in mobility studies, fleshing out the linkages between flows and matrices and thus developing effective frameworks for reconnecting local and global history. Our focus here is on the movements, or failures to move, of “cropscapes”: the ever-mutating ecologies, or matrices, comprising assemblages of nonhumans and humans, within which a particular crop in a particular place and time flourishes or fails. As with the landscape, the cropscape as concept and analytical tool implies a deliberate choice of frame. In playing with how to frame our selected cropscapes spatially and chronologically, we develop productive alternatives to latent Eurocentric and modernist assumptions about periodization, geographical hierarchies, and scale that still prevail within history of technology, global and comparative history, and indeed within broader public understanding of mobility and history.

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Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

The Social Worlds of Wheat

Jessica Barnes

Wheat is one of the world’s most widely grown, traded, and consumed crops. This article reviews the interdisciplinary literature on human-wheat interactions, tracing how various actors engage with wheat up until its point of consumption. I look first at wheat as a seed, examining efforts to transform wheat over time through farmer selection and scientific breeding, and the emergence of high-yielding wheat, hybrid wheat, and genetically modified wheat. Second, I look at wheat as a plant and what it means to farm wheat. I highlight two key dimensions of farmer-wheat interactions—farmers’ choice of variety and their management of risk. Finally, I look at wheat as a grain and the practices of transportation, sorting, and trade that mediate flows of harvested grain from field to market. Through reviewing these three areas of literature, the article reveals the social worlds that both shape and are shaped by this globally significant crop.

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Critiquing governmentality

The social construction of participation and accountability in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica

Pieter de Vries

This article sets out to test the Foucauldian concept of governmentality as it has been applied by social theorists working on the topic of neoliberal managerialism. It starts with a critical discussion of the 'good governance' agenda as developed by the World Bank. The question that the article poses is whether such technologies of governance are as successful in shaping new fields of intervention as assumed in the (managerial) governmentality literature. This question is answered negatively by way of a case study of an extensionist, working in an integrated rural development project in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica, who developed his own 'participatory extension style of operation' for dealing with farmer beneficiaries. At a more theoretical level, the article takes issue with current notions regarding the malleability of the Self and the 'social'. The article concludes that the governmentality approach has perverse consequences for the anthropological project as it leads to an impoverished kind of ethnography.

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"The lonely cows"

An outcome of the EUropeanization in rural Lithuania?

Ida Harboe Knudsen

This article focuses on small-scale farming in Lithuania in light of the country's European Union (EU) entrance in 2004. Although the EU, together with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, had encouraged a rapid privatization of the former collective farms, the result was not an economically viable farming sector, but a multitude of unspecialized farms run by ageing farmers with but a single cow. These farmers are now viewed as the main obstacle to further development and are encouraged to retire. However, the farmers have proven reluctant to do so. Looking at different attempts to reduce the number of small farms, the article analyzes how the outcomes of the EU programs often are quite different from what was originally intended. Such processes are coined as EUropeanization: a term that embraces how the EU is interpreted and implemented in daily life by the farmers.

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Fragile Transfers

Index Insurance and the Global Circuits of Climate Risks in Senegal

Sara Angeli Aguiton

In recent years, Senegal’s developed a program of index insurance to cover farmers from economic losses due to drought. I investigate this emerging market in light of Jane Guyer’s question: “What is a ‘risk’ as a transacted ‘thing’?” To grasp the social practices required to make “rainfall deficit” a transferable risk, I explore the climate and market infrastructure that brings it into existence and follows actors who function as brokers allowing the risk to circulate from Senegalese fields to the global reinsurance industry. I show that the strategies set up to convince farmers to integrate a green and rational capitalist management of climate risks are very fragile, and the index insurance program only endures because it is embedded in the broader political economy of rural development based on debt and international aid.

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Renata Lizzi

In Italy, the ‘mad cow’ emergency lasted precisely a year. It began

in November 2000 subsequent to the eruption of the crisis in

France1 and the measures announced by European authorities,

when the Italian government adopted a series of urgent health and

trade provisions. It ended in autumn 2001 when health controls

and market measures for the beef sector, as well as the opinions

of experts and scientists, gave credible guarantees on the safety

of meat and thus facilitated the recommencement of consumption

and the productive and commercial cycle of the sector.

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Anthropologists and the Challenges of Modernity

Global Concerns, Local Responses in EU Agriculture

Marion Demossier

The article examines developments and challenges faced by both anthropologists and rural communities since the 1960s. It argues that a shift in methodological and thematic terms has occurred, raising a number of issues for the establishment of a research agenda on the anthropology of Europe. The most important shift concerns the recon figuration of rural Europe, from the farm or village to more 'complex' social settings in which the presence of the state, bureaucracies, new social actors and markets are integrated into local phenomena. Attached to this rescaling is the issue of how anthropologists define their fieldwork and the objects of their study. Finally, heritage and conservation, which are at the heart of the process of a European core identity and of a European rural imaginary, provide a new critical framework to think about the connection between local concerns and global changes.