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Social agency and networked spatial relations in sustainable agriculture

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Agriculture in the USA is in social and economic crisis, but sustainable agriculture is gaining unprecedented popularity among producers and consumers. This article examines the agency articulated by farmers and activists in the sustainable agriculture community in Pennsylvania to exploit ruptures in the conventional food system and develop new forms of food provisioning in local economies. Actor-network theory offers roads out of structure/agency dialectics and proposes new possibilities for understanding structure as a network, and agency as the outcome of networking. The research shows agency to be an outcome of collectivities, but is also contingent on leadership, partially distributed throughout the network and not necessarily emancipatory for all enrolled actors.

Keywords: actor-network theory; agency; sustainable agriculture

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2008.00866.x

Affiliations: University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA, Email: atrauger@uga.edu

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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