Anand Pandian: Crooked Stalks Cultivating Virtue in South India Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9308-4 Authors A. Whitney Sanford, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
The environmental degradation caused by industrial agriculture, as well as the resulting social and health consequences, creates an urgency to rethink food production by expanding the moral imagination to include agricultural practices. Agricultural practices presume human use of the earth and acknowledge human dependence on the biotic community, and these relations mean that agriculture presents a separate set of considerations in the broader field of environmental ethics. Many scholars and activists have argued persuasively that we need new stories to rethink (...) agricultural practice, however, the link—the story that does and can shape agricultural practice—has not yet been fully articulated in environmental discourse. My analysis explores how language has shaped existing agricultural models and, more important, the potential of story to influence agricultural practice. To do this, I draw upon cognitive theory to illustrate how metaphoric and narrative language structures thought and influences practice, beginning with my contention that industrial agriculture relies on a discourse of mechanistic relations between humans and a passive earth, language that has naturalized the chemically intensive monocultures prevalent in much of the American Midwest. However, alternative agricultures, including organic agriculture, agro-ecology, and ecological agriculture, emphasize qualities such as interdependence and reciprocity and do so as a deliberate response to the perceived inadequacies of industrial agriculture and its governing narrative. Exploring the different discourses of agricultural systems can help us think through different modalities for human relations with the biotic community and demonstrate story’s potential role in altering practice. (shrink)
The ecological imagination: from paradigm to practice -- Narratives of agriculture: how did we get here? -- Balaram and the Yamuna River: entitlement and presumptions of control -- Borrowing Balaram: alternative narratives -- The festival of Holi: celebrating agricultural and social health -- The land in between: constructing nature, wilderness, and agriculture -- Restoration, reciprocity, and repair: revising the ecological imagination.