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Re-thinking the transformation of organics: the role of the UK Government in shaping British organic food and farming

Tomlinson, Isobel (2008) Re-thinking the transformation of organics: the role of the UK Government in shaping British organic food and farming. Sociologia Ruralis 48 (2), pp. 133-151. ISSN 0038-0199.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9523.2008.00457.x

Abstract

The focus of international scholarship on the contemporary transformation of organic food and farming has been a rather narrow preoccupation with the ‘conventionalisation thesis’ that describes a process whereby the structure and ideology of the expanding organic sector is seen increasingly to resemble that of the conventional food and farming sector that it has traditionally opposed. This study seeks to contribute to this literature by examining the role of the UK government in shaping the British organic sector since 1980, when it first began to engage seriously with organic farming. It draws on the analysis of a wide range of government and organic movement publications for the period 1980–2006, as well as a programme of semi-structured interviews with key organic policy actors during this time frame. By analysing the way in which the UK government has discursively constructed three separate story-lines about organics, this study argues that the effects of government action on British organic food and farming are best described as a process of containment. Further, it posits the need to move on from the rather reductionist focus offered by the conventionalisation thesis to more nuanced approaches to the transformation of contemporary food and farming that account for different geographical contexts, and the particular roles of different actors actively constructing what ‘organics’ is.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Geography, Environment and Development Studies
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2012 09:56
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:23
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4836

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