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Good methods for good farmers? Mapping the language of good farming with "diligent farmers" in Hong Kong

Chan, Kin Wing and Enticott, Gareth ORCID: 2023. Good methods for good farmers? Mapping the language of good farming with "diligent farmers" in Hong Kong. Journal of Rural Studies 100 , 103005. 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2023.03.013

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This paper explores two questions facing the use of the concept of the ‘good farmer’ in rural studies: what are the most appropriate methods to understand good farming; and what is the relevance of the concept in non-western countries? The paper explores these issues in the context of pig farmers' biosecurity decisions and daily disease management practices in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Specifically, we argue that to broaden the relevance of the good farming concept, we need to devise specific methodologies to capture the relational practices among farmers, non-human life forms and substances that construct the ‘good farmer’ meaning in different cultural contexts. Firstly, we consider the language of ‘good farming’, its possible translations, potential meanings and alternative phrases used amongst Chinese-speaking farmers. Secondly, we develop a farmer-oriented methodology to analyse how these locally specific translations of good farming are constructed and used in relation to the management of animal disease. Drawing on 12 farmers' mapping and their interview discussion, we develop a narrated mapping methodology in which the creation of farm maps acts as a device to illustrate and talk about biosecurity and good farming. This visual method triangulates the graphical data with subsequent interview data of farmers' maps. From this we show how the idea of the ‘diligent farmer’ has much stronger resonance in Hong Kong than good farming. Farm maps identify specific symbols of diligence, highlighting values of productivism, environmentalism and social relationships. The mapping methodology also reveals the performative work involved in becoming a diligent farmer. In conclusion, the paper considers the broader methodological implications for the concept of good farming, suggesting that cultural linguistic differences need to be recognised in the concept, and arguing for further methodological advancement.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0743-0167
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 April 2023
Date of Acceptance: 22 March 2023
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 02:26

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