Transitioning Agriculture - A Socio-Technical Perspective

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Naia Duus Nielsen
4. term, Techno-Anthropology, Master (Master Programme)
This report outlines the matters concerning the sustainable transition in agriculture on Samsø. Samsø is characterized by being one step ahead regarding the sustainable transition in several sectors of the municipality. Empirical data is collected through fieldwork conducted in March 2019 on Samsø. Six interviews were carried out with farmers at their farms, and one interview was carried out with an agricultural advisor in the local advisory service. The tradition of Constructivist Grounded Theory (Charmaz, 2017) is applied in coding and thematizing the empirical data. Participatory observations were made at a small-scale organic farm through different roles such as trainee, farming assistant and roomie. Secondly, a science and technology description of the law of the minimum and mineral theory is carried out in order to frame the fertilizer and nutrient practices of the farmers. Thirdly, the theoretical framework is set as a fundamental premise of the thesis by Actor Network Theory (ANT) (Latour and Woolgar, 1986) and Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) (Pinch and Bijker, 1987). The ANT-perspective is letting me weigh the actions of nature as much as human actions. And The SCOT-perspective is reflected in the way I understand nutrients and fertilizers especially commercial fertilizers. The analytical framework consists of four knowledge paradigms in agriculture developed by Pernille Kaltoft (Kaltoft, 1997) and a description of the historical development of the concept of sustainable development is made in order to oppose the empirical concept of structural development, that is detected in agriculture on Samsø. The concepts of champion farmers, neighborliness and expert assistance (Risgaard, Frederiksen and Kaltoft, 2007) is applied in the analysis as well. In the analysis different themes appear to be important to the sustainable development across different farming paradigms. The most important themes are found to be Autonomy and Collaboration with nature in a successful transition of agriculture.
Publication date2 Jan 2020
ID: 318667602