Beyond agriculture: the counter-hegemony of community farming

Neil Ravenscroft*, Niamh Moore, Ed Welch, Rachel Hanney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we seek to understand the interplay between increasingly widely held concerns about the hegemony of industrialized agriculture and the emergence of counter-hegemonic activities, such as membership of community supported agriculture (CSA) initiatives. Informed by Blackshaw's (Leisure, Abingdon, Routledge, 2010) work on "liquid leisure," we offer a new leisure-based conceptualization of the tactics of counter-hegemony, arguing in the process that food politics offers a rich site for new, transitional identity formation. Using a case study of a well-established community farm in southeast England, we demonstrate how the community members devote themselves to transient and inconsequential activities as a means of attempting to realize a larger self-related identity project. We also demonstrate how the seemingly close inter-personal bonds typical of CSA may not reflect the permanence accorded to them, with members able willingly to leave these communities once they can no longer progress their identity project. We conclude by arguing that our findings are emblematic of society in transition, with people moving well beyond the work/leisure activity into a world in which they embody the idea and the practice of being an active co-producer-in our case, of food. While recognizing that this does not necessarily mean that there is simple causality between practice and identity formation, we do argue that there is evidence of an increasing relationship between activity, time, and the performance of a new form of civil labor practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-639
Number of pages11
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Issue number4
Early online date30 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2013


  • Civil labor
  • Community supported agriculture
  • Liquid leisure
  • Co-production
  • FOOD


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