Farmlands, or agricultural landscapes, captures the interest of a number of researchers based at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. On this blog we share information about research findings, activities, events and comments related to our work.

Our interest in farmlands has three roots: farming, landscape and society.
Farming as a practice, including farmers knowledge and labour investments
Landscape as society-nature relations, congealed history, and as space and place
Society as a short form for institutions, gender relations, political economy and scientific relevance

Most Welcome to FarmLandS!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hydropatriarchies and landesque capital.

2014 is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ year of family farming.Moreover, the African Union designated 2014 the year of agriculture and food security. Family farming, and hence food security, in Africa would not be possible without the contribution of women, who make up for circa 50% of small holder farmers. The majority of agricultural production in Africa is in fact in the hands of smallholders. Nevertheless, women´s role in agricultural production is still somehow not at the forefront of the debate on food security, as it should be. Continue here...

This is the blog post I wrote on the RGS-IBG journals blog Geography Directions to advertise my recent publication on The Geographical Journal titled 
Hydropatriarchies and landesque capital: a local gender contract analysis of two smallholder irrigation systems in East Africa

Here is the abstract: 

Water is a natural resource whose control for productive purposes is often in the hands of men. Societies grounded on such unequal gender relations have been defined ‘hydropatriarchies’. Against this background, this paper presents a gender analysis of landscape investments, conceptualised as landesque capital in smallholder irrigation farming in East Africa. Based on the analysis of how local gender contracts are negotiated, I argue that as processes of landesque capital formation are often explicitly gendered, attentiveness to gender dynamics is required to fully understand such practices. Moreover, as investments in landesque capital, for example, irrigation, terracing and drainage systems, have primarily been conceptualised as the result of men's systematic work, this study highlights women's contributions to the creation of landesque capital, taking smallholder irrigation as an example. Findings show that a distinction between ‘incremental’ and ‘systematic’ change (Doolittle 1984; Annals of the Association of American Geographers 74 124–37) is central to understanding the gender dynamics of landesque capital investment, but it is not sufficient. As women's work processes are typically not systematic, possibly promoting incremental change, they contribute to the production of landesque capital by supporting and facilitating men's work. However, the work of women is, as a rule, homogenised and stereotypically rendered as reproductive and secondary, due to the underlying cultural norms that limit, control or exploit women. This conceptualisation, or rather lack of, I argue, risks leading to a gender-blind analysis of land use intensification processes. Building on the gendered and symbolic nature of landesque capital, I propose a local gender contract analysis that integrates the cultural, symbolic and physical dimensions of the local gender division of labour into agricultural work and landscape change processes.

Read the full article here

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