Co-producing better land management? An ethnographic study of partnership working in the context of agricultural diffuse pollution
Date de parution
Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies
De la page
A la page
Partnership working has become a normative principle within agri-environmental governance. With more and more benefits becoming attributed to closer multi-stakeholder collaboration, more public monies are being directed towards this cause. These benefits have been studied widely and are usually presented in terms of their contributions to environmental, economic and/or social objectives. However, in contrast to these reported outcomes of partnership working, the practical ways towards them have received little attention. What does it mean to work together on a day-to-day basis? More specifically, how do stakeholders become trusted partners, bridge interests and coordinate their actions? What collaborative working culture becomes established within partnerships and how does this in turn affect wider governance outcomes, expectations and aspirations? Answers to these questions are not only important to better understand the factors that contribute to successful ways of partnership working, but also to account for its limitations. This paper responds to this research need by drawing on the example of Farm Herefordshire. This cross-organizational partnership promotes profitable farming, healthy soils and clean water to address the problem of diffuse pollution from agricultural practices within the Wye catchment in the UK. The insights from this case study contribute to the literature in two major ways: firstly, the paper follows prompts to study such modes of collective action holistically and bottom-up to capture all their contributions and implications. It does so by employing an ethnographic research approach to investigate the social interactions and struggles that characterize joint working. This commands attention to the backstories, the actual work meetings, the discussions, the processes of consensus building, and the joint actions undertaken; secondly, the paper connects with wider social science concerns around the underlying processes and practices of governmentality that are essential for establishing social and ecological orders. Thus, the paper explores how everyday practices of partnership working contribute to the co-production of institutions, discourses, identities, and representations—which in this case become strategically deployed to nudge—rather than revolutionise—better land management practices.
Type de publication
Dossier(s) à télécharger