Beyond agriculture: the counter-hegemony of community farming

Neil Ravenscroft, N. Moore, E. Welch, R. Hanney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this paper we seek to understand the interplay between increasingly widely held concerns about the hegemony of industrialised agriculture, and the emergence of counter-hegemonic activities, such as membership of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiatives. Informed by Blackshaw’s (2010) work on ‘liquid leisure’, we offer a new leisure-based conceptualisation of the tactics of counter-hegemony, arguing in the process that food politics offers a rich site for new, transitional, identity formation. Using a case study of a well established community farm in South East England, we demonstrate how the community members devote themselves to transient and inconsequently activities as a means of attempting to realise a larger self-related identity project. We also demonstrate how the seemingly close inter-personal bonds typical of CSA may not reflect the permanence accorded to them, with members able willingly to leave these communities once they can no longer progress their identity project. We conclude by arguing that our findings are emblematic of society in transition, with people moving well beyond the work/leisure activity into a world in which they embody the idea and the practice of being an active co-producer – in our case, of food. While recognising that this does not necessarily mean that there is simple causality between practice and identity formation, we do argue that there is evidence of an increasing relationship between activity, time and the performance of a new form of civil labour practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-639
Number of pages11
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10460-013-9437-7

Keywords

  • Civil labor
  • Community supported agriculture
  • Liquid leisure
  • Co-production

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