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Birgit Müller France Laboratoire de l'anthropologie des institutions et organisations sociales, Paris I am currently working on:

Food, Property and Power: Agricultural Technologies as Global Policies and Local Practices My current research explores how agricultural practice shapes and is shaped by political worldviews and structures of power and how these are in turn affected by global agricultural policies. To address a blind spot in global agricultural policies that disconnect family farmers in the North from peasants in the South, presenting the situation of Northern farmers as the model for the future, I propose to observe the practice of grain farming on the cereal plains of Saskatchewan in Canada and of peasant cultivation on the high plateau of Carazo in Nicaragua. I want to show that technological choices are never neutral but deeply embedded in political and economic power structures thus affecting all levels of society. Growing a crop can be described as the outcome of a configuration in which are coordinated the actions of the farmer, of agricultural technicians, of the firms selling seeds and chemical inputs, the laboratoires that developed them, the price of grain and international agricultural policies. Can farmers and peasants have a strategic behaviour with respect to these actors, or are they obliged to move tactically in a political, economic and natural environment they cannot control attempting to use the occasions offered to them?