The industrialization of agriculture not only alters the ways in which agricultural production occurs, but it also impacts the decisions farmers make in important ways. First, constraints created by the economic environment of farming limit what options a farmer has available to him. Second, because of the industrialization of agriculture and the resulting economic pressures it creates for farmers, the fact that decisions are constrained creates new ethical challenges for farmers. Having fewer options when faced with severe economic pressures is (...) a very different situation for farmers than having many options available. We discuss the implications of constrained choice and show that it increases the likelihood that farmers will consider unethical behavior. (shrink)
The fairness of agricultural markets is frequently invoked, especially by farmers. But fairness is difficult to define and measure. In this paper we link fairness and power with the concept of constrained choice to develop a framework for assessing fairness in agricultural markets. We use network exchange theory to define power from the dependencies that exist in agricultural networks. The structure of agricultural networks and the options that agricultural producers have to participate in agricultural networks affect the degree to which (...) they are dependent on others within the network. Dependency, in turn, affects the choices that agricultural producers have. We consider both the number and nature of these choices. We argue that constraining or limiting choices—both in number and type—violates principles of justice. Importantly, network exchange theory provides a method for assessing constraints in choices and, hence, the fairness of agricultural markets. Such an assessment could potentially lead to new policies that safeguard the liberties of marketplace participants. We present a brief case to illustrate how this framework can inform on the fairness of agricultural markets and conclude with considerations of what this means for policy, particularly in the arena of anti-trust. (shrink)
Future practitioners of sustainable agriculture and agroecology must have the capacity to address the wicked problems in the food system to make progress toward sustainability. Undergraduate sustainable agriculture students from a variety of backgrounds may struggle with the question, is the challenging and complex work of addressing wicked problems of agroecology for me? Our case study investigated sociocultural tensions associated with identity encountered when wicked problems teaching units were integrated into the Advanced Practices of Sustainable Agriculture course at a large, (...) Midwestern Land Grant University. The research and course employed a four-part framework that focused on attending to individual needs and identities, facilitating practice-based and community-based learning, engaging in problems situated in regional contexts, and supporting awareness of local and global political and ecological issues. Researchers used a community of practice theoretical lens, and focused on the sociocultural tensions that may have impacted individual and community identity formation. Two wicked problems teaching units are described by drawing upon documentation and audio recordings from planning meetings, course sessions, student and instructor interviews, and course artifacts. Vignettes were constructed to situate four interrelated types of sociocultural tensions encountered by instructors and students. These tensions reflected forces at the individual, community, local, and global levels which interact to influence learners’ capacity to become full participants in sustainable agriculture. The study fills a gap related to affective dimensions of learning like identity in agroecology education. Dilemmas and implications related to identity, pedagogy, and epistemology are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the question of whether middle-scale farmers, which we define as producers generating between $100,000 and $250,000 in sales annually, are better agricultural stewards than small and large-scale producers. Our study is motivated by the argument of some commentators that farmers of this class ought to be protected in part because of the unique attitudes and values they possess regarding what constitutes a “good farmer.” We present results of a survey of Missouri farmers designed to assess (...) farmer attitudes and values regarding a variety of indicators of farmer stewardship, such as the most important issues in agriculture, environment, and treatment of farm animals, perspectives on the past and future of agriculture, and ethical behavior. We find little evidence that farmers-of-the-middle are particularly noteworthy in these regards. We do find evidence, however, that middle-scale farmers are more pessimistic and anxious about their role in the future of agriculture. (shrink)
The notion of fairness is frequently invoked in the context of food and agriculture, whether in terms of a fair marketplace, fair treatment of workers, or fair prices for consumers. In 2009, the Kellogg Foundation named fairness as one of four key characteristics of a “good” food system. The concept of fairness, however, is difficult to define and measure. The purpose of this study is to explore the notion of fairness, particularly as it is understood within alternative food dialogues. Specifically, (...) we wanted to answer the question of how alternative food entrepreneurs who are working to actualize fairness within local food networks understand this abstract notion. Using a multiple case study approach, the research for this project draws on semi-structured interviews that were conducted with key stakeholders in four alternative food businesses throughout the Midwest. (shrink)
The development and utility of genetically modified crops for smallholders around the world is controversial. Critical questions include what traits and crops are to be developed; how they can be adapted to smallholders’ ecological, social and economic contexts; which dissemination channels should be used to reach smallholders; and which policy environments will enable the greatest benefits for smallholders and the rural poor. A key question is how the voices of smallholders who have experience with or desire to use GM technologies (...) enter the larger debate. Africa has the greatest number of smallholders and poor with the least exposure to GM crops. Because of the well-established use of GM crops in South Africa by commercial farmers, we formed a community of practice involving smallholders, extension, researchers, non-profits and agribusiness in KwaZulu-Natal to examine the conditions under which GM crops are used by smallholders, how smallholders interact with GM technologies and what insights smallholders and other stakeholders can provide regarding these questions. One of the advantages of the CoP approach is that it brings stakeholders together in a non-hierarchical way that encourages new ways of thinking and new partnerships. Such interaction around a specific project can enhance the voice of smallholders in a variety of ways. In our project, smallholder participants have increased their knowledge and can make better decisions about GM technologies, which had been barriers for them. Notably, they have also improved their knowledge of maize production practices, accessed new practice networks, and met new researchers and resource providers. They are now being integrated into these networks in a way that should improve their livelihoods and make the wants and needs of smallholders better known. Such knowledge and experience has improved their voice in agriculture and rural development discussions. (shrink)
We consider the implications of trends in the number of U.S. farmers and food imports on the question of what role U.S. farmers have in an increasingly global agrifood system. Our discussion stems from the argument some scholars have made that American consumers can import their food more cheaply from other countries than it can produce it. We consider the distinction between U.S. farmers and agriculture and the effect of the U.S. food footprint on developing nations to argue there might (...) be an important role for U.S. farmers, even if it appears Americans don’t need them. For instance, we may need to protect U.S. farmland and, by implication, U.S. farmers, for future food security needs both domestic and international. We also explore the role of U.S. farmers by considering the question of whether food is a privilege or a right. Although Americans seem to accept that food is a privilege, many scholars and commentators argue that, at least on a global scale, food is a right, particularly for the world’s poor and hungry. If this is the case, then U.S. farmers might have a role in meeting the associated obligation to ensure that the poor of the world have enough food to eat. We look at the consequences of determining that food is a right versus a privilege and the implications of that decision for agricultural subsidies as well as U.S. agriculture and nutrition policies. (shrink)
Published in 1982, Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice proposed a new model of moral reasoning based on care, arguing that it better described the moral life of women. An Ethic of Care is the first volume to bring together key contributions to the extensive debate engaging Gilligan's work. It provides the highlights of the often impassioned discussion of the ethic of care, drawing on the literature of the wide range of disciplines that have entered into the debate. Contributors: Annette (...) Baier, Diana Baumrind, Lawrence A. Blum, Mary Brabeck, John Broughton, Owen Flanagan, Marilyn Friedman, Carol Gilligan, Catherine G. Greeno, Catherine Jackson, Linda K. Kerber, Mary Jeanne Larrabee, Zella Luria, Eleanor E. Maccoby, Linda Nicholson, Bill Puka, Carol B. Stack, Joan C. Tronto, Lawrence Walker, Gertrud Nunner-Winkler. (shrink)
Published in 1982, Carol Gilligan's _In a Different Voice_ proposed a new model of moral reasoning based on care, arguing that it better described the moral life of women. ____An Ethic of Care__ is the first volume to bring together key contributions to the extensive debate engaging Gilligan's work. It provides the highlights of the often impassioned discussion of the ethic of care, drawing on the literature of the wide range of disciplines that have entered into the debate. _Contributors:_ Annette (...) Baier, Diana Baumrind, Lawrence A. Blum, Mary Brabeck, John Broughton, Owen Flanagan, Marilyn Friedman, Carol Gilligan, Catherine G. Greeno, Catherine Jackson, Linda K. Kerber, Mary Jeanne Larrabee, Zella Luria, Eleanor E. Maccoby, Linda Nicholson, Bill Puka, Carol B. Stack, Joan C. Tronto, Lawrence Walker, Gertrud Nunner-Winkler. (shrink)
This study examined the relationship between moral distress intensity, moral distress frequency and the ethical work environment, and explored the relationship of demographic characteristics to moral distress intensity and frequency. A group of 106 nurses from two large medical centers reported moderate levels of moral distress intensity, low levels of moral distress frequency, and a moderately positive ethical work environment. Moral distress intensity and ethical work environment were correlated with moral distress frequency. Age was negatively correlated with moral distress intensity, (...) whereas being African American was related to higher levels of moral distress intensity. The ethical work environment predicted moral distress intensity. These results reveal a difference between moral distress intensity and frequency and the importance of the environment to moral distress intensity. (shrink)
In _Michael Polanyi and His Generation_, Mary Jo Nye investigates the role that Michael Polanyi and several of his contemporaries played in the emergence of the social turn in the philosophy of science. This turn involved seeing science as a socially based enterprise that does not rely on empiricism and reason alone but on social communities, behavioral norms, and personal commitments. Nye argues that the roots of the social turn are to be found in the scientific culture and political (...) events of Europe in the 1930s, when scientific intellectuals struggled to defend the universal status of scientific knowledge and to justify public support for science in an era of economic catastrophe, Stalinism and Fascism, and increased demands for applications of science to industry and social welfare. At the center of this struggle was Polanyi, who Nye contends was one of the first advocates of this new conception of science. Nye reconstructs Polanyi’s scientific and political milieus in Budapest, Berlin, and Manchester from the 1910s to the 1950s and explains how he and other natural scientists and social scientists of his generation—including J. D. Bernal, Ludwik Fleck, Karl Mannheim, and Robert K. Merton—and the next, such as Thomas Kuhn, forged a politically charged philosophy of science, one that newly emphasized the social construction of science. (shrink)
Childhood obesity is an increasing health threat. The National Institutes of Health is the primary funding agency for research into the causes, mechanisms, consequences, and prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. Using the NIH Strategic Plan for Obesity Research as the framework, this article summarizes the research that has been funded in the past five years as well as new research areas with great potential.
The purpose of this research was to understand institutional review board (IRB) challenges regarding youth-focused research submissions and to present advice from administrators. Semistructured self-report questionnaires were sent via e-mail to administrators identified using published lists of universities and hospitals and Internet searches. Of 183 eligible institutions, 49 responded. One half indicated they never granted parental waivers. Among those considering waivers, decision factors included research risks, survey content, and feasibility. Smoking and substance abuse research among children was generally considered more (...) than minimal risk. These findings are consistent with those from a study conducted by Mammel and Kaplan (1995), which investigated IRB practices concerning protocols involving adolescent participants. IRBs and investigators need to become aware of regulations' flexibility to ensure adequate participant protection. Investigators need to limit jargon and assumptions about participants' understanding of research objectives. (shrink)
The first-ever compilation of articles that highlights the intersection of Derridean and feminist theories--a work that represents the extensive and diverse response feminist theorists have had to Derrida, particularly to the issues of gender, identity, and the construction of the subject.
The advent of the Internet has had a significant impact on the formation of an information-driven, rapid-paced society. The number of Internet users reached 50 million in only five years compared to 13 years for television and 38 years for radio. Consumer expectation for access, convenience, and speed has made the cyberspace superhighway a medium for knowledge exchange and for e-commerce. The Internet offers a wide variety of health services and products to healthcare professionals as well as to the public. (...) Online pharmaceutical sales are predicted to reach $20–25 billion over the next four years. This is a dramatic increase when compared to the $1.9 billion in 1999. At the click of the mouse, medications can be ordered and delivered conveniently to your door. Yet, consumer discomfort with the security of information provided via the Internet is growing, and recent incidents involving disclosure of healthcare information serve to heighten this concern. (shrink)
Whatever may be said about contemporary feminists’ evaluation of Descartes’ role in the history of feminism, Mary Astell herself believed that Descartes’ philosophy held tremendous promise for women. His urging all people to eschew the tyranny of custom and authority in order to uncover the knowledge that could be found in each one of our unsexed souls potentially offered women a great deal of intellectual and personal freedom and power. Certainly Astell often read Descartes in this way, and Astell (...) herself has been interpreted as a feminist – indeed, as the first English feminist. But a close look at Astell’s and Descartes’ theories of reason, and the role of authority in knowledge formation as well as in their philosophies of education, show that there are subtle yet crucial divergences in their thought – divergences which force us to temper our evaluation of Astell as a feminist. -/- My first task is to evaluate Astell’s views on custom and authority in knowledge formation and education by comparing her ideas with those of Descartes. While it is true that Astell seems to share Descartes’ wariness of custom and authority, a careful reading of her work shows that the wariness extends only as far as the tyranny of custom over individual intellectual development. It does not extend to a wariness about social and institutional customs and authority (including, perhaps most crucially, the institution of marriage as we see in her Reflection on Marriage). The reason for this is that Astell’s driving goal is to help women to come to know God’s plan for women – both in their roles as human and in their roles as women. According to Astell, while it is true that, as individuals, women must develop their rational capacities to the fullest in order to honor God and his plan for women as human, as members of social institutions, including the institution of marriage, women must subordinate themselves to men, including their husbands, in this case so as to honor God and his plan for women as women. Once we understand the theological underpinnings of her equivocal reaction to authority and custom, we can see that Astell may be considered a feminist in a very tempered way. -/- My second task is to use these initial conclusions to re-read her proposal for single-sexed education that we find in A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. It is true that Astell encourages women to join single-sexed educational institutions for the unique and empowering friendships that women can develop in such institutions. Still, my argument continues, the development of such friendships is not entirely an end in itself. Rather, Astell encourages women to develop such friendships such that they can re-enter the broader world armed with the tools that will help them endure burdensome features of the lives that await them in the world, including their lives as subordinated wives –burdens that Astell does not, in principle, challenge. (shrink)