The Impact of Values Concerning Nature on Practice and Knowledge in Organic Farming

Pernille Kaltoft

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    Abstract

    The paper presents and discuss results from my ph.d. thesis concerning environmental ethics as a concept of practise. The theoretical purpose has been to link the highly theoretical questions of environmental ethics as it exists as a philosophical enterprise with practise and to make environmental ethics as a concept of practise a relevant conceptualising of what guides professionals in action with nature (farmers, agrono-mists, engine-ers and the alike) when deciding which solution is pre-ferable regarding sustainabili-ty.The empirical work examines the explicit as well as the implicit expressed views of nature, ethical stands, learning processes, knowledge sources and identity of six selected Danish organic farmers. These findings are related to their actual manuring strategies, diversity in crops and products and ways of treating the herd. The empirical study gives evidence to the thesis that the view of nature influence practise: The focus of the organic farmers on environmental concerns, product quality concerns, earth-fertility concerns, utilitarian ethics or bioethics means different practical choices. Four paradigms of knowledge related to organic farming has further more been identified and analysed regarding concepts of nature and philosophy of science. The paradigms are shared by farmers, agronomists in extension and advisory service and agroscientific researchers.The general lack of acknowledgement of these different views of nature among the farmers and of the different paradigms has impact on the development of the organic farming and on the conceptualising of environmental issues in society and thereby the initiatives taken: Priority is given to the more conventional ways of understanding: obtaining sustainability by not using poison, treating manure as a question of optimising nitrogen and the other nutrients. On the other hand learning processes take place in and around the organic farms extending the farmers concepts of sustainability.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSociologia Ruralis
    ISSN0038-0199
    Publication statusPublished - 1997
    EventLocal Responses To Global Integration. Towards a New ra of Rural Restructuring, XVII Congress of the European Society for Rural Sociology - Chania
    Duration: 1 Jan 1997 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceLocal Responses To Global Integration. Towards a New ra of Rural Restructuring, XVII Congress of the European Society for Rural Sociology
    CityChania
    Period01/01/1997 → …

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