The political ecology of soybean farming systems in Mato Grosso, Brazil: a cross-scale analysis of farming styles in Querência-MT

Mier y Terán Giménez Cacho, Mateo (2014) The political ecology of soybean farming systems in Mato Grosso, Brazil: a cross-scale analysis of farming styles in Querência-MT. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Over the past two decades the expansion of soybean production in Brazil has been assessed and used as an example of the success or failure of large-scale, mechanized agricultural production. Indeed, the economic, social and environmental implications of this agricultural expansion are highly contested. Nevertheless, the complexity behind this process is rarely depicted. Instead simplistic and monolithic notions of agronegocio (agribusiness), and linear interpretations of soybean expansion are offered. These general accounts reduce agrarian dynamics, diversity of farming styles and differences in livelihoods to a homogenous phenomenon in all soybean production regions in Brazil. This limits the scope to understand processes of socio-technical, socio-economic and socio-environmental transformations and the existence of diverse pathways related to the soybean agri-food systems.

This study therefore rejects the simple narratives, and argues for a more nuanced understanding of the diverse processes and dynamics between soybean farming styles and its actors' interactions as part of fast‐changing agri‐food systems. This is done through a case study approach in the municipality of Querência in the state Mato Grosso, Brazil. An examination of narratives (the ways different people talk about and construct farming and its objectives) and practices (the different farming styles and livelihood strategies) informs this analysis. In particular, the research explores how a heterogeneity of soybean farming styles – contrasting large-scale, medium-scale and smallholder soybean farmers – is constructed in a particular place, offering in turn a more nuanced account of the standard, highly polarised assessment of farming styles and their implications. It then contributes to an understanding of how policies and practices related to diverse soybean agri-food systems in Mato Grosso state are played out. This sheds light on how notions of rural development are constructed and how pathways to sustainable development are seen.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F2201 South America > F2501 Brazil
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD1401 Agriculture
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2014 13:31
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015 13:59
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/48263

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