The Husbandry of Technology: Farm Families' Cultivation of Technological Knowledge under 'Neo-Productivist' Conditions


  • Clare Perkins University of Worcester


Issues such as a rising world population, climate change and the economic crisis have led to a questioning of the UK's agricultural sector to maintain a sufficient and reliable food supply. As a result, led by various policy thinktanks, the UK Government is looking to technology to increase sustainable food production. This paper explores the contemporary nature and importance of family farming in the UK, and interrogates how these changes may become reality for these members of the agricultural sector. It is particularly concerned with the processes that surround the introduction, use and maintenance of technology on family farms. To do this, the article draws on six months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted on family farms in Ceredigion, Wales, U.K. The paper makes significant contributions to understandings of the family farming way of life, theorisations of technologies in 'context' and 'culture', and conceptualisations of future 'neo-productivist' agriculture. Keywords: family farming, technology, neo-productivism, ethnography, knowledge-practices