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Does instrumentalization of “organic farming” lead to enhancement or dissolution? - A case study of the local dissemination processes of organic farming

Noe, Egon (2003) Does instrumentalization of “organic farming” lead to enhancement or dissolution? - A case study of the local dissemination processes of organic farming. [Submitted]

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The dissemination of “organic farming” is a topic of great attention as a measure to environmental regulation, high value food production, etc. and the Danish case of organic agriculture is generally regarded as a success story. The prevailing strategy of the Danish organic movement has been to mobilise non-organic actors in the dissemination of the ‘organic mode of farming’. A strategy that is embedded in a dogmatic belief that the ‘internal conversion’ in terms of values, ideas and thinking almost automatically will follow the ‘external conversion’ into the ‘organic mode’ of farming according to the rules. In this paper farmers’ network-strategy to disseminate organic farming is explored through a longitudinal case study within a local area with a high density of organic farmers. Through farmers narratives it is explored how farmers were mobilised into the network, how they contributed to mobilise conventional farmers, advisors and other actors into the network of organic farming, and finally if the dogma of symmetry between the external and internal conversion can be sustained or not. Three phases of network-building was revealed: 1) the pioneer phase dominated by actors that is not belonging to the mainstreams of agriculture, 2) the enrolment phase, where local conventional actors are mobilised into the organic network, and. 3) the non-connection phase, where farmers converting to the organic mode of farming no longer necessarily are enrolled in the organic network and where the conventional agricultural networks have adopted organic farming as a concept into the conventional network strategies. The farmers’ narratives partly confirm the dogma of coherence between the external and internal conversion process, but reject any mechanistic connection between the two processes, and add to a much more complex sociological under standing of these conversion processes. The push and pull into organic networks, due to the facing of social and technical risk, may be stronger explanation of the internal conversion process than the technical changes in the farming practice. In the non-connection phase there are no forces of pull and push of the farmers into the social and technical network relations of organic farming. The revealed scenario is that the non-connected conventional actors will, in numbers, dominate organic farming but not contribute to reproduce organic farming as an alternative development of agriculture.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic farming, dissemination, self-organisation, actor network
Subjects: Farming Systems > Social aspects
Research affiliation: Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Deposited By: Noe, Ph.D Egon
ID Code:2114
Deposited On:18 Dec 2003
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:28
Document Language:English
Refereed:Submitted for peer-review but not yet accepted

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