Channels of Labour Control in Organic Farming: Toward a Just Agroecological Transition for Sub-Saharan Africa

Bottazzi, Patrick; Boillat, Sébastien; Marfurt, Franziska; Mbossé Seck, Sokhna (2020). Channels of Labour Control in Organic Farming: Toward a Just Agroecological Transition for Sub-Saharan Africa. Land, 9(6), p. 205. MDPI 10.3390/LAND9060205

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Agroecological farming has long been described as more fulfilling than conventional agriculture, in terms of farmers' labour and sense of autonomy. These assumptions must be reconsidered with adequate theoretical perspectives and with the empirical experience of recent studies. This paper introduces the concept of channels of labour control in agriculture based on four initiatives in Senegalese agroecological horticulture. We build on Bourdieu's theory of social fields to elaborate a framework that articulates multiple channels of labour control with the type of capital or surplus values structuring power relations during labour processes. Although each of the four agroecological initiatives place a clear emphasis on improving farmers' well-being, various top-down channels of labour control exist, maintaining most farmworkers as technical demonstrators rather than agents of transformation. These constraints stem from dependence on foreign funding, enforcement of uncoordinated organic standards, and farmers' incorporation of cultural values through interplays of knowledge and symbolic power with initiative promotors. Pressure on agricultural workers is exacerbated by the context of the neo-liberalisation of Senegalese agriculture and increasingly difficult climatic conditions. A more holistic approach of agroecological initiatives is needed, including the institutionalisation of protected markets for their products, farmers' inclusion in agroecosystem governance and inclusiveness in the co-production of agroecological knowledge, taking cultural patterns of local communities into account. Recent attempts to scale-up and politicise agroecology through farmers' organisations, advocacy NGOs, and municipalities may offer new perspectives for a just agroecological transition in sub-Saharan Africa.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management (LS-SLM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Bottazzi, Patrick; Boillat, Sébastien and Marfurt, Franziska

Subjects:

900 History > 910 Geography & travel
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2073-445X

Publisher:

MDPI

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation

Projects:

[1285] Why do we work? Labour and agroecological transition in sub-Saharan Africa

Language:

English

Submitter:

Sébastien Boillat

Date Deposited:

25 Jun 2020 09:17

Last Modified:

25 Jun 2020 11:46

Publisher DOI:

10.3390/LAND9060205

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Bourdieu, Senegal, agrarian studies, agroecology, habitus, political ecology, social field, work

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.144804

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/144804

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