I often struggle to explain what it is I study. Most terms don’t capture it adequately, it being something rather interdisciplinary, thematic, and transnational. Cheese, I tell people, if I want to get a smirk out of them. Labour, agriculture, and the natural world, if I want to be a little more accurate. The industrialization of the Ontario dairy industry, if I want to sound obnoxious. Capitalism and the exploitation of nature and people, if I want to sound incendiary. Continue reading
Tag Archives: labour
It rained. It rained and rained and my eyes stung and it felt a bit like crying because the tears were there against my will and made me think I should feel melancholy, but I don’t. Or maybe I do and nature’s response was appropriate. I pulled over a few yards past the local Indian restaurant when I could no longer see and decided to get some vindaloo. “Look at that rain. Do you live here?” asked the woman at the table across from me, as she twisted in her chair to look out the wide open windows. And thus began my evening with Meg.
“Yet capitalism is nothing if not vitally expansionist.”
-Jack Kloppenburg, on capital’s pursuit of the commodification of seed, First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology
If you don’t look too closely, if you blur the proverbial edges, it’s easy to settle into the comfortable notion that Vietnamese agriculture is the pastoral ideal: the ‘slow’ life, rice paddies that sway with the breeze, the market vendor whose little bundles of herbage elicit ooohs and aaahs from tourists itching to revel in something ‘quaint.’ I can romanticize it too. Do you see any farmers in that field of maize, concerned about whether or not their new high-yielding seeds will allow them to hold onto their land for another year?