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Accepted Paper:

Mediating between local farming and technocracy: the role of social enterprise in constructing eco-friendly agricultural discourse and practice in Taiwan  
Mi Pan (National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University)

Short abstract:

This agricultural promotion and practice case study in Taiwan illustrates how "social enterprise" serves as a boundary organization. Analyzing its work culture will help to understand the construction of "sustainability" and the limits of emerging technologies in the transformation of agriculture.

Long abstract:

Taiwan is known worldwide for its chip technology industry; however, one of the costs has been the sacrifice of the agricultural sector. In particular, the liberalization of rice imports has exacerbated the loss of the rural community. The government hopes that through assisting digital transformation, the agricultural issue will no longer be a stumbling block to industrialization but a national strategy integrated with the goals of food security, green economy, and global free trade. However, policy implementation, such as establishing the digitalized traceability system and certification systems, has attracted much criticism and resistance, questioning that these models originating in large-scale agribusiness are not conducive to the Taiwanese countryside, which is characterized by fragmented farmland and complex tenancy relationships.

In this paper, I take the case of Caitian Company, an agricultural promotion organization founded by former anti-WTO social activists, to explore the conflict between heterogeneous actors and value systems. Caitian has positioned itself as a social enterprise, strategically constructed the concept, brand, and practice of "eco-friendly farming," translated the principles of environmental governance into rural life and local customs, and successfully connected different interests from the government, farmers, and sales channels. This study also analyzes Caitian's organizational culture and how it mediates between the public sector and enterprises, exchanging resources, knowledge, and manpower. Based on Caitian's experience in connecting food testing laboratories and farming mobile apps to actual fields, this paper argues that intensive boundary work is the key to new agricultural innovation.

Traditional Open Panel P210
Digital technologies in food and agriculture: merging STS with Critical Agrifood Studies
  Session 3 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -