Accepted Paper:

Failed modernity. Some ideas around the transformations of rural space in galician family farms  


Bibiana Martinez Alvarez (Universitat de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

Transformations of rural space in the context of family farms in Galicia are caused by their gradual subordination to the capitalist relations of production and market-oriented global discourses. I try to analyze these questions through an historical perspective and the concept of moral economy

Paper long abstract:

Family dairy farms in Galicia (north-west of Spain) operate in a complex institutional context that encompasses the dairy industry, agricultural unions, and a variety of technicians in agricultural management and in agribusiness. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, I discuss how economic relations generate contradictions that hamper the productive process and even jeopardize the survival of family farms. These contradictions are generated because of their gradual subordination to the capitalist relations of production. This process also produces a significant tension among the three types of sustainability that exist in the present context: economic, social (such as the way of life or household reproduction) and environmental sustainability. The historical perspective and the concept of moral economy are key elements in my analysis. Therefore through all these questions I discuss how the contemporary market-oriented global discourses as well as different practices in this orbit produce social, cultural and material transformations of rural space and also project utopian futures of progress and prosperity. In these family farms this process is embodied in the intensive mode of farming exploitation developed during the years of the implementation of the Green Revolution in Galicia. The serious problems of these family farms to survive and the implementation of the extensive farming in the context nowadays, generate also among the farmers the feeling of failed modernity besides other material, cultural and social transformations, such as the problems around land access or the changing perceptions around their livelihood and the environment

Panel Rur004
Market-oriented global discourses and the reshaping of rural spaces