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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Publication | 2021

Competing fields in sustainable agriculture: on farmer-expert understandings of good farming, good farmers and organic farming

In this study, a cross-cultural analysis was undertaken to compare the knowledge of organic producers and agricultural experts in Iran concerning the concepts of good farming, good farmer, and organic farming in the field of sustainable agriculture. We put concepts of good farming, good farmer, and organic farming in conversation with Bourdieu’s concepts of cultural capital, identity, and the dynamics of the ‘rules of the game’ to determine the knowledge gaps between experts and farmers in the sustainable agricultural field. Data are derived from interviews with 45 organic producers and 52 agricultural experts. The findings showed that farmers had knowledge of the key concepts discussed by experts but differed in the emphasis placed on these ideas. Results reveal tensions between how farmers and experts think about and understand how farmers ought to practice organic farming. The paper concludes with some arguments on the knowledge asymmetries and offers a few participatory approaches for negotiation to overcome the asymmetry in supporting more sustainable management practices.