Journal of Rural Studies
Vol. 39, 2015, Pages: 1–10
Farming while confronting the other: The production and maintenance of boundaries in the borderlands
Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.
The alternative food movement encounters many structural conditions as it strives toward more environmentally sustainable and socially just agrifood systems. One of the greatest challenges the movement faces is not turning its back on migrant farmworkers at the same time it creates and experiments with alternative agricultural models. This article explains why there is a gap between an expressed concern with the inequalities faced by migrant farmworkers and the actual advocacy practices necessary to overcome them. To help tease apart the drivers maintaining this gap, I call attention to the social and symbolic boundaries reproduced by a group of people farming organically in San Diego along the United States/Mexico border. I find that in the course of farming in the context of border politics, food activists internalize a number of structural and ideological conditions producing a racialized agricultural political economy, neoliberalism, and the security state. These include the hegemony of certain stereotypes of migrant farmworkers and inherent notions of difference, the hegemony of militarized borders and monitored immigrant bodies, and race and class privilege that manifests through idealizing nature and farming. At the same time, I find that these boundary maintenance practices are open to change, and call attention to the ambiguity expressed by well-meaning organic farming activists as well as more resistant socioecological imaginaries.
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bio-degradation of wastes.