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- PublicationAccès libreThe Art of Governing through Multiplicity: Everyday Practices and Transitions in UK Agri-Environmental GovernanceABSTRACT: This thesis aims to uncover transitions in agri-environmental governance [AEG] in the UK through the lens of everyday practices. Building on long-term ethnographic fieldwork and supported by different theoretical framings, it documents and analyses the mobilisations and social uses of four specific agri-environmental governance instruments in a series of research papers. The first paper draws attention to payments for ecosystem services [PES] and the practices used to inspire market-style transformations in Welsh AEG. Employing Murray Li’s (2007) practices of assemblage the findings show a mosaic of different PES arrangements emerging which serve and reflect diverse interests and needs. The second paper engages with the principles of partnership working to combat agricultural diffuse pollution in Herefordshire. Through the lens of Sheila Jasanoff’s (2004) instruments of coproduction this paper shows how farmers are proactively nudged towards better land management practices by a multi-actor partnership via their collective attempts to re-shape identities, institutions, representations, and discourses. This partnership work produces place-based versions of good farming which seek to reconcile rather than divide profitability and ecology in farming. The third paper investigates the establishment and ways of working of the Pasture-fed Livestock Association, a UK-wide food label and farmer-driven organisation based on grain-free livestock production standards. Using Lave and Wenger’s (1991) situated learning theory this case study demonstrates how a private food label can also act as a community of practice stimulating social learning and unlearning between its members through virtual and non-virtual means of engagement. The empirical material of this paper generates novel insights about the role that such communities of practice can play in bringing marginalized practices, knowledges and products to people’s minds and markets. Finally, the fourth paper explores and contrasts socio-technical imaginaries (Jasanoff, 2015; Jasanoff and Kim, 2009) of digitised agri-environmental governance with the challenges of implementing these technologies in everyday contexts of various governance stages and actors. This final paper reveals how various digitalisations both transform the configurations of agri-environmental governance practices and agri-environmental knowledge in challenging and productive ways. Collectively, the papers document the shift towards a new art of governing through multiplicity. Whilst earlier iterations of UK AEG were directly aimed at producing policy or market interventions for clearly defined target populations (i.e. farmers), this new art of governing is less explicit about whom to govern and more concerned with what to govern. Overall, the findings of this thesis demonstrate the benefits of employing an everyday perspective to uncover such governance transitions including the diverse motivations and mundanities that are part of devising meaningful AEG practices within a governance system premised on multiplicity. It also demonstrates the changes in power relations and knowledge regimes due to the mobilisation of new governance instruments and the authorisation of specific forms of knowledge and associated learning processes. Eventually, the thesis makes the case for AEG research and practice to become more socially informed, sensitive to questions and relations of power, and interested in the networked performance of multiplicity to act upon its (dis)connections and unleash more of its transformative potential.
- PublicationAccès libreCo-producing better land management? An ethnographic study of partnership working in the context of agricultural diffuse pollution(2022)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.
- PublicationAccès libreSocial (un-)learning and the legitimization of marginalized knowledge: How a new community of practice tries to ‘kick the grain habit’ in ruminant livestock farming(2020)This paper presents a qualitative case study analysis of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA), which seeks to ‘kick the grain habit’ in ruminant farming by promoting and certifying purely pasture-fed production systems. Reading through a social learning perspective, the article first traces back how this association has become established as a new and distinct community of practice (CoP). This entails attending to the process of forming a joint enterprise, the spaces that allow for mutual engagement between its members, and the shared repertoire that has been built over time. Thus, the paper draws on the three key characteristics of Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger's (1991) conceptualization of communities of practice, which have become widely recognized for providing effective fora for learning and knowledge management, as well as for spurring innovations. More precisely, the paper connects with earlier works invoking this concept within agri-food studies and specifically seeks to contribute to the debates raised around the forms of knowledge that are shared within such communities and their members' means of interaction that facilitate social learning. Secondly, and in direct relation to this theoretical framing, the paper makes an attempt to refine understandings of social learning. While this remains predominately associated with the acquisition of new knowledge, skills or technologies, the paper argues for a dialectical perspective, which pays equal attention to how people break with past practices. In other words, the paper highlights the role that unlearning plays within new CoPs such as the PFLA. Lastly, the paper explores the wider knowledge networks that are forged as the community matures and seeks to disseminate and legitimize its knowledge beyond its own boundaries. The empirical material of this case study will be useful to inform debates about the potential role that new CoPs can play in bringing marginalized practices, knowledges, and products to peoples' minds and markets.
- PublicationAccès libreAssembling payments for ecosystem services in Wales(London : Routledge, 2018)
;Sophie Wynne-JonesThis chapter uses an assemblage approach to evaluate the development of ‘payments for ecosystem services’ in Wales, via transformations of agri-environmental governance over the last ten years. Whilst the adoption of PES has led to a shift in governance style and State responsibilities that echoes broader trends in neoliberalisation, we reject readings of hybrid neoliberalism following, instead, Tania Murray Li’s (2006) practices of assemblage to unpick the complex institutional arrangements emerging. Using an assemblage approach enables us to assess how different actors are mobilising and aligning around the PES approach to advance their own agendas. Following the practices used to authorise and render their concerns technical then shows us how and why some actors are being marginalised in this process, particularly as failures emerge and re-assembling is undertaken. Finally, we offer insights on how the State continues to maintain power whilst entering into new relations with other actors, advancing a more experimental mode of governance. The empirical material is based on three qualitative case studies, including pan-Wales agri-environment schemes as well as the ‘Pumlumon Project’ in Mid-Wales and the ‘Ecosystem Enterprise Partnership – Ecobank’ in South-Wales.