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Tourism and HIV

Involving Women in the Design of Educational Materials in Rural Costa Rica

Nancy Romero-Daza, Mackenzie Tewell, David Himmelgreen, Oriana Ramirez-Rubio and Elsa Batres-Boni

This article describes the involvement of women from rural Costa Rica, where tourism is predominant, in the creation of HIV/AIDS awareness materials that are appropriate for families and peers. The project was conducted in four towns in the Monteverde Zone, a region that has experienced a transition from an economy based on agriculture and dairy farming, to one dependent on tourism. Informed by previous research that shows the signi ficant impact of tourism on the economic and social landscape of the zone, this project responded to local residents' desire for participatory approaches to raise awareness about the potential spread of HIV/AIDS in their communities.

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Hadas Weiss

My goal in this forum essay is to brush the dust off Claude Meillassoux’s (1981) magnum opus, Maidens, Meal and Money, by demonstrating its relevance for the present day. While Meillassoux wrote primarily about precapitalist agricultural communities, he had sketched on their basis a model of social reproduction that incorporates social investments and powers, and he foregrounded the hierarchical and exploitative reproductive orders by which capitalism sustains accumulation. In the context of a renewed interest by feminist scholars in questions of social reproduction, I argue that the analytical tools developed by Meillassoux are at least as helpful in making sense of the age of financialization.

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Marilyn Strathern

This stimulating collection puts agriculture into current conversations on the Anthropocene. In particular it relates, as an effect of the impetus toward defining responsibility, the contemporary sense of urgency that makes “us” find new reasons for thinking of humankind as a whole. The articles carefully unpick this holism, both in terms of people’s varying relations to the circumstances of cultivation or marketing and in terms of populations being divided through offsetting or knowledge-distribution strategies. It is a small extrapolation to observe that the same must be true of the particularity of crops: no more than persons can they be lumped together.

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Ruth Mostern

China’s Yellow River is the most sediment laden water course in the world today, but that came to be the case only about a thousand years ago. It is largely the result of agriculture and deforestation on the fragile environment of the loess plateau in the middle reaches of the watershed. This article demonstrates that the long term environmental degradation of the Yellow River was primarily anthropogenic, and furthermore, it explains how the spatial organization of state power in imperial China amplified the likelihood and consequences of landscape change.

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Italy and the United States

The Politics and Poetics of 'The Southern Problem'

Michael Kreyling

Both nations were ‘made’ in the 1860s. One was proclaimed on March 17, 1861; the other began a doomed civil war for its autonomy on April 12, 1861. The architect of Italian unification, Count Camillo Cavour, did not live to see the national reality; he died a few months after the proclamation. Abraham Lincoln died before national unity was reclaimed. As a policy of unification, the victorious North dissolved monasteries without anticipating negative effects on employment and social services for the poor. The victorious North dissolved the slave labour system in the defeated states without adequately anticipating the effect on employment and social services for the poor and black. In the southern regions of Italy the primary organisation for agricultural land use was a large holding, usually owned by one family, and rented to peasants: latifundia. In the southern regions of the United States the primary organization for agricultural land use was a large holding, usually owned by one family, and worked by slave labour: plantations. Southerners in the new Italy tended to view their civilisation as separate from the new nation, ‘an ancient and glorious nation in its own right’.1 Southerners in the US tended to view their civilisation as separate within the nation as a whole, ‘ancient’ by New World standards, and ‘glorious’ by virtue of its traditions.

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Disappearing peasants?

On land, rent, and revenue in post-1989 Romania

Cerasela Voiculescu

This article explores the recent transformations of the Romanian peasantry and critically discusses interpretations of these changes as either indicating the persistence or the disappearance of peasants in Romania. It shows that beyond the labels of depeasantization and repeasantization, which are extensively used to describe rural scenarios under socialism and postsocialism, it is important to take analytic account of the more complex social relations between different actors that are developing under the impact of interacting local and global processes. Given the sharp differences between peasants and the new class of agricultural rentiers, as well as the variations within the latter group, the different rent regimes in which peasants negotiate their control over land and subsistence involve complex relationships and statuses. The article concludes by hypothesizing possible ways in which all of these relationships could be transformed in the long run in the new context of the EU agricultural policy and by discussing two possible scenarios for the Romanian rural landscape, namely, those of peripheral and nonperipheral capitalism.

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Introduction

Seeds—Grown, governed, and contested, or the ontic in political anthropology

Birgit Müller

Seeds are simultaneously a meaningful part of the daily life of many people involved in agriculture and instruments for national and international policy making. This thematic section explores the sensorial connections between people and plants, the relationships of power that impact and frame them, and the reflections and contestations that they are a part of. In the midst of Western societies and among scientists and farmers, different ontologies and different perceptions of being and coevolving with others in the world coexist, as we will show by looking at human-seed relationships. Local and global legacies create powerful differences between seeds, while various forms of international governance simultaneously push seeds toward homogenization and agriculture toward industrialization while claiming to preserve diversity. Intellectual property rights over seeds and seed regulations have become powerful tools of multinational seed corporations for appropriating large parts of farmers' incomes and controlling the food chain, while it is the sensorial and emotional connections between humans and plants that provide the drive to resist them.

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Dylan Bennett

The decline and dissolution of eastern Germany’s agricultural production

cooperatives (APCs) has been anticipated by formal economic theory since

reunification on the grounds of inefficiency.1 Yet, more recent scholarship

on the varieties of capitalism tells us that efficiency does not lead to simple

convergence of market forms, but rather that different institutional solutions

and social systems of production can achieve desired ends—including

efficiency—with varied designs.2 Today, the cooperative farm sector, underpinned

by conservative, democratic governance, persists without naiveté

and little nostalgia on the cusp of a new postcommunist generation and still

accounts for the largest share of agricultural production in eastern Germany.

Even if the cooperative farming sector follows a slow decline, the

firms will convert or persist depending less on their ability to achieve

efficiency as on their ability to maintain productive land holdings, and to

promote a new generation of management and enthusiastic members committed

not to nostalgia but toward the future of their own lives, their firms,

and their local communities. Some of the cooperatives are likely to persist

for a long time. In this article, in an effort to understand the environment

in which cooperatives face the future, I provide an eyewitness account of

the internal politics between workers and bosses, highlight survival strategies,

consider the institutional constraints and supports facing cooperatives,

and sketch portraits of the farmers who face the task of carrying the cooperative

tradition forward.

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Femininity (Con)scripted

Female Images in Soviet Wartime Poster Propaganda, 1941–1945

Susan Corbesero

During the Second World War, legions of Soviet women behind the lines participated in war-time production in both industry and agriculture. Soviet propaganda, despite the overwhelming numbers, contributions and sacrifices of women, graphically portrayed them in ways that both re-established the pre-war patriarchal gender relations of the Stalinist era and circumscribed women’s wartime experiences. This article examines how, during the initial and la er years of the conflict, and in the important and under- studied source of Soviet poster propaganda, the symbolic configuration and recon- figuration of femininity and the female image was transmitted through shifting official policies and attitudes on the role of women. While early posters portrayed women’s wartime participation as atypical, temporary and unwomanly, propaganda by the end of the war featured hyper-feminised representations of women while the Soviet state moved to reassert political controls and institutionalise conservative gender policies to serve the needs of war and reconstruction.

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Inventing Eco-Cycle

A Social Enterprise Approach to Sustainability Education

Sandy Smith-Nonini

This article discusses lessons learned from a social enterprise project supporting sustainability education in central North Carolina (U.S.A.). Since 2011, Eco-Cycle,1 a retail shop featuring creative-reuse has provided support for a community meeting space that offers weekly environmental education workshops. Many approaches to social justice-oriented green initiatives in the United States emulate urban agriculture models and tend to be grant-dependent in early years, only achieving economic sustainability with difficulty. In contrast, our non-profit co-op of upcycler crafters and vintage vendors grew out of production and marketing of upcycled rain barrels, based on a social enterprise approach rather than a traditional model. I discuss the stepping-stones to this venture, which originated through a neighbourhood energy conservation initiative, followed by alliance-building with non-profits to promote green job creation. I relate the complications and surprising forms of synergism emerging from the social enterprise approach to social theory on cooperatives and community-based development models.