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Food secure: Farmers on their modes of production
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The thesis explores contradictions that farmers see between current mode of production, and how they imagine that modes of production would need to change if there were no fossil fuels. Based on qualitative interviews with farmers, the aim of the study is to contribute to a discussion on strategies to increase the farms’ capabilities to produce food without fossil fuels. This topic is relevant from both environmental and contingency perspectives.

I understand society of today as mainly driven by capitalist logic, meaning that the logics of capital are what most people perceive as the normal and rational way to organize society. The analysis is based on a theoretical framework that sees the dominant energy source as specific and conditional for the historical organization of different societies, focusing on the role of fossil fuels as specific to the current capitalist society. The analytical tools are derived from the concept mode of production, which puts focus on how the farm production is organized in regard to labor, skills, inputs and machines. By using a specific focus on how farmers describe contradictions between the current mode of production of farms and in the case of a sudden lack of fossil fuels, I elucidate features of current food production that are made logical and rational by using fossil fuels, but which seem less logical when there are no fossil fuels.

I argue that the threat to food security is not due to the fossil fuel dependency per se, but due to how fossil fuels have and are enabling 1) social relations where the purpose of food is to be a commodity rather than to be nutrition for people, 2) spatial concentrations of refineries, distribution and consumers, 3) social relations with dispossession of means of productions for consumers and concentration of ownership of land for producers, 4) technical relations which drive deskilling of knowledge on how to produce food.

For policymaking, this means that exchanging fossil fuels with other energy sources would not necessarily increase food security, as long as the above mentioned mechanisms are reproduced. To increase food security, agricultural policies need to aim at making food more than a commodity and decrease the distance between production and consumption, both in spatial terms but also in terms of knowledge and skills. These strategies are not necessarily compatible with the logics of the capitalist mode of production.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 51
Keywords [en]
fossil fuels, agriculture, food, mode of production, farmers, vulnerability, capitalism
National Category
History and Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-355200OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-355200DiVA, id: diva2:1227867
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Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-27 Created: 2018-06-27 Last updated: 2018-06-27Bibliographically approved

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