Escape from Empire: Agroecological autonomy in European peripheries
Simon is approaching the end of his PhD at CAWR. His work brings together previous education in philosophy, development studies and economics, experience in public policy, and a strong interest in alternative models of food and farming.
This presentation summarises my thesis, which explores the theoretical meaning of autonomy in agroecology and food sovereignty and explores farmers’ autonomy in Cornwall and Calabria. Combining and critiquing the work of Jan Douwe van der Ploeg and Mark Tilzey, I suggest that agroecological autonomy entails a partial submission to natural and personal dependencies in order to escape and overcome the impersonal constraints generated by contemporary capitalism. Through a comparative study of small-scale, ecologically minded farms in peripheral regions, I explore the nature of farmers’ autonomy and the prospects of more radical forms of agroecology emerging in Europe.