More-than-human economies in the era of ecological crisis - tracing human-soil relations, reciprocity and livelihoods in practices of regenerative food (re)production

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description (abstract)

Demand for continuous economic growth, extractive relations with nature and disregarding of negative externalities are considered as major root causes of the ecological crisis that we face. Yet, up to date dominant economic theories and efforts to include topics of sustainability into organization and management theories have failed to conceptualize economic organizing as an outcome of entangled interdependencies between humans and other living organisms. At the same time, an increasing number of people are re-organizing economic activities that fit within ecological boundaries, promote social equity and provide meaningful livelihoods. The aim of this project is to shed light into these alternative economic practices by examining how they, as a result of work of people and other-than- human beings, are created and established. More in particular, the project examines regenerative food (re)production that has emerged as a promising solution to feeding the world while addressing climate change by mitigating it on the one hand and adapting to it on the other hand. In doing so, it adopts a practice theoretical approach and builds on theories of diverse economies and environmental humanities with an aim to advancing conceptualizations of more-than-human economies. Empirically, the project opens up a new research and methodological agenda to study the interwoven relationships between humans and other-than-humans. Through an ethnographic research approach, it follows how human-soil relationships form and are organized in ‘practices of regeneration’ and how they are influenced by the (im)possibilities to earn a livelihood. In line with the theoretical premises and to support the aims of the project, a multi-sited fieldwork is carried out including an ethnographic study of 12 farms aiming at regenerative food (re)production (Case 1), an in-depth study of livelihoods and exchange practices in regenerative food (re)production (Case 2). The project contributes to better understanding of the root causes of the ecological crisis, brings important insights into sustainability transitions at grassroots and points of friction with the growth economy, and enhances our knowledge on concrete solutions for alternative ways of organizing the economy. By providing insights on human-soil relations and livelihoods in regenerative food (re)production, the findings allow policy makers and ordinary people to advance more-than-human economies that are in balance with the living world.
Effective start/end date01/09/202131/08/2024

Fields of Science

  • 5200 Other social sciences
  • 512 Business and Management
  • 4111 Agronomy