Performing Quantification: Productivism, Multifunctionality, and Ecological Sustainability in Agrienvironmental Policy

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Steven WOLF, Cornell University, USA
Ritwick GHOSH, Cornell University, USA
Payments made to farmers under agrienvironmental policy schemes in USA serve multiple functions. The material sustainability of farming (e.g., soil erosion control) and mitigation of off-farm ecosystem degradation (e.g., Gulf of Mexico hypoxia) are elements of this diverse set of social functions. Through critical examination of efforts to rationalize payments on ecological grounds - a shift to so-called, data-driven, outcome-based programs structured by new ranking algorithms and new logics of accountability - we are able to observe aspects of the political economy of environment and political economy of agrifood. The study highlights how technoscience serves to re-legitimate existing relations and values in policy networks, and at the same time technoscience is mobilized as a disruptive force. The results indicate that technology is a central and thoroughly ambiguous resource in processes of development.