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“It’s just the luck of the draw”: luck, good farming and the management of animal disease in Aotearoa New Zealand

Enticott, Gareth ORCID:, Gates, M. Carolyn and Hidano, Arata 2021. “It’s just the luck of the draw”: luck, good farming and the management of animal disease in Aotearoa New Zealand. Geoforum 119 , pp. 143-151. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.09.021

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Good and bad luck are frequently invoked to explain the misfortunes of ill health, failure and natural disasters. There are few studies, however, that examine how perceptions of luck affect farmers’ decision making in response to environmental threats. In this paper, we draw attention to farmers’ use of perceptions of luck to explain outbreaks of infectious animal disease where risk factors are within and outside farmers’ control. The paper makes two substantive geographical contributions. Firstly, it explores the geography of luck, showing how it is articulated at local and national scales, and how the use of luck varies between areas of different disease risk. Secondly, by analysing attempts to manage the geography of cattle movements, the paper explores whether metrics of animal disease risk can offer hope and overcome perceptions of bad luck. Here, the paper explores the links between luck and notions of good farming and whether the creation of good farming subjectivities can contribute to a disease prevention mindset amongst farmers. Drawing on 41 qualitative interviews, the paper shows how good farming is constructed by farmers in Aotearoa New Zealand and how good and bad luck shape farmers’ perceptions of and responses to incidents of animal disease. In both high and low-risk disease areas, farmers’ perceptions of luck allow them to displace blame and rely on experts to manage animal disease. Good farming appears unconnected to disease risk metrics, meaning that methods of behaviour change that rely on good farming subjectivities may have limited impact.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0016-7185
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 June 2020
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 19:23

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