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BIOSINQ seminar series: ”Attending to Weeds: Toxic Care among Conventional Farmers in Denmark”.

Presentation by PhD student Cæcilie Kramer Kildahl Sørensen

Info about event


Wednesday 18 May 2022,  at 15:00 - 16:00

The event will be online. Please register by writing to korsbaek@cas.au.dk to get the zoom link. 


In agriculture, productivist development have historically rested on the assumption that large-scale systems are more efficient, leading to bigger and fewer fields and farms (Burton & Wilson, 2012). Scalability depends on the separation of transformative relations (Tsing, 2019), and external elements such as weeds, insects and pests, pose a threat to this separation. Thus, in reality productivist large-scale agriculture requires a lot of boundary work and maintenance in the shape of technology, chemicals, knowledge, money and work in order to ‘perform’. Farmers carry out this boundary work, for instance using pesticides. Boundary work and the maintenance of productivity have given farmers their ‘licence to produce’. Accordingly, the ‘good farmer’ is one who manages to maintain the productivity of large-scale systems by fencing off transformative relationships that might mess up the system and its economic feasibility. However, moments of biosocial encounters highlight the impossibility of separation, and how new means of pest control foster new means of survival.

In this seminar series, I will present ethnographic research on the boundary work, repair work and ‘care’ strategies applied by conventional farmers in order to maintain liveability in the ruins of productivist development policy and within the emergent green development frontier.

Burton, R. J. F., & Wilson, G. A. (2012). The Rejuvenation of Productivist Agriculture: The Case for ‘Cooperative Neo-Productivism’. In R. Almås & H. Campbell (Eds.), Rethinking Agricultural Policy Regimes: Food Security, Climate Change and the Future Resilience of Global Agriculture (Vol. 18, pp. 51-72): Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Tsing, A. L. (2019). On nonscalability: The living world is not amenable to precision-nested scales. Common knowledge, 25(1-3), 143-162.