Between Scales, Subjectivities and Species: Towards a political ecological theory of futurity in agri-food systems
Centre for Rural Policy Research Seminar Series
Rob Booth, University of Birmingham - Between Scales, Subjectivities and Species: Towards a political ecological theory of futurity in agri-food systems
|A Centre for Rural Policy Research seminar
|21 February 2024
|10:45 to 12:15
Abstract: Discourses of scale are frequently mobilised in considerations of agricultural transformation. Yet scale takes on diverse meanings within the sector, ranging from the spatial extent of farm holdings to the uptake of changing hardware and the imagined processes and speed at which change will, can or should happen. These are often attached to imaginaries of what the future of farming could or should look like. This paper presentation considers these diverse dimensions of scale via a critical geographical approach that sees the production of scale as one aspect of the spatial and temporal reality of agricultural systems. In doing so it looks to complicate discussions of scale in agriculture via empirical material collected during my doctoral fieldwork with food producers. In comparing my ethnographic visits to a large-scale arable business to my work on a regenerative horticultural farm I demonstrate how labour and relations with the more-than-human world trouble ideas of desirable agricultural scale and technological appropriateness. In doing so, I raise questions about farm viability, economic power and the capacity and desire for transformative agricultural change amongst farmers. This comes via a concern with how farmers view the future of their farms and agriculture, the central question of my doctoral research.