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Country life: agricultural technologies and the emergence of new rural subjectivities

Bear, Christopher; Holloway, Lewis


Christopher Bear

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Professor Lewis Holloway
Professor of Human Geography, Director of Research (School of Environmental Science), Chair of the Faculty of Science and Engineering Ethics Committee


Rural areas have long been spaces of technological experimentation, development and resistance. In the UK, this is especially true in the post-second world war era of productivist food regimes, characterised by moves to intensification. The technologies that have developed have variously aimed to increase yields, automate previously manual tasks, and create new forms of life. This review focuses on the relationships between agricultural technologies and rural lives. While there has been considerable media emphasis on the material modification, and creation, of new rural lives through emerging genetic technologies, the review highlights the role of technologies in co-producing new rural subjectivities. It does this through exploring relationships between agricultural technologies and gender, changing approaches to understanding and intervening in animal lives, and how automation shifts responsibility for productive work on farms. In each of these instances, even ostensibly mundane technologies can significantly affect what it is to be a farmer, a farm advisor or a farm animal. However, the review cautions against technological determinism, drawing on recent work from Science and Technology Studies to show that technologies do not simply reconfigure lives but are themselves transformed by the actors and activities with which they are connected. The review ends by suggesting avenues for future research.


Bear, C., & Holloway, L. (2015). Country life: agricultural technologies and the emergence of new rural subjectivities. Geography compass, 9(6), 303-315.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 2, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 8, 2015
Publication Date 2015-06
Deposit Date Jul 2, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Geography compass
Electronic ISSN 1749-8198
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 6
Pages 303-315
Keywords Agricultural technologies; UK; Rural subjectivities
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Geography compass, 2016, v.9, issue 6 at doi:10.1111/gec3.12217.


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