Identities on the family farm: agrarianism, materiality and the ‘good farmer’

Jérémie Forney & Lee-Ann Sutherland

Abstract The symbiotic nature of family farm production has been central in the way that the social sciences have framed research on agriculture and farming. In this chapter, we discuss how agriculture as an activity affects and is impacted upon by families’ and households’ identities from three angles: the idealization of farming life, with associated political ideologies; the materiality of farming and agriculture; and the socio-cultural definition of what it is to be a ‘good farmer’. We focus particularly on family labor – succession and gender – as integral to the definition and resilience of the family farming form, and how the materialities of this labor both feed agrarian imaginaries and lead to negative patterns in mental health. As an opening and conclusion, we argue that those interactions between ideologies, self-representations and the materiality of farming call for new theorizations of identities in agriculture that would look beyond a classical, human-centered, and representational framing of farming households’ identities.
Keywords Identity, Farm succession, Gender, Non-commercial farming, Farmers’ mental health; Non-representational theory
Citation Forney, J., & Sutherland, L. A. (2021). Identities on the family farm: agrarianism, materiality and the ‘good farmer’. In HANDBOOK ON THE HUMAN IMPACT OF AGRICULTURE (pp. 65-84). Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Type Book chapter (English)
Year 2021
Publisher Edward Elgar Publishing (Cheltenham/Northampton)
Pages 65-84
URL https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/usd/handbook-on-the-human-im...