The political ecology of alternative agriculture: Ontological difference and conflict in the struggle over sustainability in Scania and on Zealand
Sammanfattning: The aim in this thesis is to explore how power dynamics are involved as one way of knowing the environment is held to be more rational than the other. This is being put in the case of the development of alternative agriculture in Sweden and Denmark, where organic agriculture has managed to gain greater attention in recent years whilst biodynamic farming has been less successful. Furthermore, this thesis explores the project of political ontology; how the difference between organic and biodynamic farming can be understood as ontological and in what ways these differences are linked to unequal power relations. Qualitative interviews were conducted with five biodynamic farmers in Scania and on Zealand for this research. The findings of this research suggest that the biodynamic farmers struggle with the dominant understanding of the world limited to a biophysical view on it. Meanwhile, organic farming has managed to negotiate with such ideas and made changes towards ecological modernization. The biodynamic farmer’s understanding of the environment exceeds a biophysical understanding of it. The struggle of what should be included in a concept of sustainability could in such a way be understood as an ontological conflict. The ontological difference of organic and biodynamic farming implies different positions of power for them, since different associations are made with the respective understanding of the environment. Overall, the findings suggest that fundamental ontological difference plays a role in the power dynamics which the biodynamic and organic movement find themselves in.
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