Rethinking Control: Complexity in Agri-environmental Governance Research




Governance, Assemblage, Social Change, Participation


First paragraph:

Discourse on governance always faces the challenge of describing, and usually simpli­fying, the many voices who formally and informally participate in controlling, and therefore governing, shared outcomes for community members both locally and globally (Callon, Lascoumes, & Barthe, 2009). Environmental and agricultural governance faces this problem redoubled, as outcomes and governing bodies cross boundaries between spe­cies, affecting humans and nonhumans, animals and otherwise (Latour, 2017; Tsing, 2015). Ad­dress­ing incoher­ence, difference, and complexity (Law, 2004) is a general research concern among social scientists who wish to avoid subjugating otherwise margin­alized participants. By looking to measurements and research methods that arise from studies outside politics and economics, actors that would be hidden or silenced by political economic critiques and metrics may become visi­ble. For engaged governance research, the benefits of this are clear: a more inclusive social science of govern­ing stakeholders. This edited collection brings together diverse international scholarship in agri-food social science research to rethink the frame­work of agri-environmental governance. The edi­tors frame the selection of essays as efforts to look to the mess of stakeholders, legislators, grow­ers, eaters, food councils, lands, crops, assessments, and so forth as a governing assemblage. By doing this, researchers are able to explore meanings and social experiences that diverge (although do not entirely separate) from neoliberal (e.g., large, cor­porate) frameworks in ways that complicate the governing underpinnings that are continually at work (re)territorializing the world of agriculture, food, and environment policy and praxis....


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Author Biography

Matt Comi, University of Kansas

Matt Comi is a PhD student in sociology at the University of Kansas. His research uses qualitative methods to explore social relationships between agricultural practitioners and materials. His work has primarily focused on agri-environmental prob­lems in rural spaces and obstacles to sustainable transitions in agricultural praxis.

Cover of "Agri-Environmental Governance"



How to Cite

Comi, M. (2018). Rethinking Control: Complexity in Agri-environmental Governance Research. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(3), 213–215.