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From middle ground to common ground: self-management and spaces of encounter in organic farming networks

Ince, Anthony ORCID: 2015. From middle ground to common ground: self-management and spaces of encounter in organic farming networks. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 105 (4) , pp. 824-840. 10.1080/00045608.2015.1039110

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This article deploys the anarchist notion of self-management to critically investigate the global organic farming network World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) as an initiative that offers insights into the possibilities and challenges of encounter. WWOOF facilitates the giving of food, accommodation, and hands-on learning experiences for volunteers, in exchange for their labor on organic farms. It operates as a moneyless sharing economy, designed as a site of mutual learning and cultural exchange. Literatures on encounter divide between brief tourist encounters of difference and everyday encounters in diverse, usually urban, communities. In linking these two bodies of work, I argue that the principle of self-management, as conceived by anarchist thinkers, can help develop a unified, critical framework for making sense of encounter event spaces. This adds important nuance to theorizations of encounter by recognizing the entwinement of the intimate and the structural, foregrounding the capacity of people to autonomously create shared spaces of interdependence. The case study indicates that structural contradictions and inequalities in voluntary relationships within statist-capitalist systems can seriously undermine otherwise promising interpersonal encounters. By articulating self-management as a tool for both analyzing and producing spaces of encounter, this article offers new possibilities for a more holistic and unified analytical framework.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: encounter, organic agriculture, self-management, tourism, volunteering.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0004-5608
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2014
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 15:51

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