【発表者】Dr. Trent Brown (University of Wollongong, Australia)
【タイトル】Sustainable Agriculture and Social Power: Case Studies from India
【概要】Within development and organic farming circles alike, it is often claimed that low external input sustainable agriculture has the potential to deliver meaningful economic and political empowerment for poor communities in the developing world. In particular, it is suggested that by reducing expenses on chemical fertilizers, poor farmers are able to overcome indebtedness and take control of their lives. Unfortunately, while there may be potential for this kind of empowerment in theory, in practice, things often do not work out this way. Often, sustainable agriculture projects serve the interests of local and non-local elites and bring only marginal benefits (or even losses) to the poor. In this presentation, I argue that this is because sustainable rural development projects are always embedded within much larger structures of social, economic and political power. Specifically, I explore how rural development projects are influenced by at least four separate entities – donors, activist networks, the state and local elites – all of whom may have objectives that differ from those of the rural poor. Drawing on case studies from my doctoral research project, I argue that to make more meaningful changes to the lives of the rural poor, sustainable agriculture advocates must be more sensitive to the hegemonic power relations that influence their work.