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Country life: agricultural technologies and the emergence of new rural subjectivities

Bear, Christopher and Holloway, L. 2015. Country life: agricultural technologies and the emergence of new rural subjectivities. Geography Compass 9 (5) , pp. 303-315. 10.1111/gec3.12217

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Rural areas have long been spaces of technological experimentation, development and resistance. In the UK, this is especially true in the post-second world war era of productivist food regimes, characterised by moves to intensification. The technologies that have developed have variously aimed to increase yields, automate previously manual tasks, and create new forms of life. This review focuses on the relationships between agricultural technologies and rural lives. While there has been considerable media emphasis on the material modification, and creation, of new rural lives through emerging genetic technologies, the review highlights the role of technologies in co-producing new rural subjectivities. It does this through exploring relationships between agricultural technologies and gender, changing approaches to understanding and intervening in animal lives, and how automation shifts responsibility for productive work on farms. In each of these instances, even ostensibly mundane technologies can significantly affect what it is to be a farmer, a farm advisor or a farm animal. However, the review cautions against technological determinism, drawing on recent work from Science and Technology Studies to show that technologies do not simply reconfigure lives but are themselves transformed by the actors and activities with which they are connected. The review ends by suggesting avenues for future research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1749-8198
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2020 19:00

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