Coming Back Across the Fence: Masculinity and the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture*

Citation:

Peter, Gregory, Michael Mayerfeld Bell, Susan Jarnagin, and Donna Bauer. 2000. “Coming Back Across the Fence: Masculinity and the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture*.” Rural Sociology 65 (2): 215–33.

Authors: Gregory Peter, Michael Mayerfeld Bell, Susan Jarnagin, Donna Bauer

Abstract:

In this paper we explore the social construction of agricultural masculinity and its role in the transition to sustainable agriculture. We draw our evidence from a participatory qualitative study comparing members of the sustainable agriculture group Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) with their non-PFI neighbors. On the non-PFI farms, men more often rep- resented what we call monologic masculinity, a conventional masculinity with rigid and polarized gender expectations and strictly negotiated performances that make a clear distinction between men's and women's activities. The male farmers belonging to PFI, on the other hand, more often represented what we call dialogic masculinity, characterized by different measures for work and success than in monologic masculinity, less need for control over nature, and greater social openness. Although both are present to some extent in all male participants, we argue that acceptance of a more dialogic masculinity helps promote the transition to sustainable agriculture.

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2000

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