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Moser, Julia, 2024. The impact of bureaucracies on peasant autonomy : a case study from the region Mühlviertel, Austria. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



The current food system is characterized by long value chains, commodification, and environmental degradation. Simultaneously the European Common Agricultural Policy favours this system, benefiting industrial agriculture. This setup creates complex bureaucracies that bind rural areas to urban centers, limiting peasants' agency. This raises the interest in alternatives, where a focus on autonomy is highly relevant, as it shows how peasants navigate their foperation within capitalism and the state. Thus, this exploratory case study revolves around the impact of bureaucracies on peasant autonomy. A qualitative methodology was employed, incorporating in-depth interviews and observations with seven peasants, two of whom were also part of a group interview. The study’s analysis critically builds on the concept of autonomy by van der Ploeg (2018). First, the research presents different meanings of autonomy, including farm-level autonomy and forms of collective autonomy, in a regionally situated context in Mühlviertel, Austria, also identifying contradictions to the literature. Second, it identifies relevant bureaucracies for peasants under study. Lastly, it examines how these bureaucracies impact their autonomy. The study concludes that bureaucracies have a significant impact on peasant autonomy. They were found to limit the development of resource base and constrain autonomy from the market. This is relevant as it shows how bureaucracies can contribute to alternative pathways to the current food system, making it an important lever for the needed food system transformation. Thus, this study has policy implications, but also contributes to the current debate on autonomy within peasant studies.

Main title:The impact of bureaucracies on peasant autonomy
Subtitle:a case study from the region Mühlviertel, Austria
Authors:Moser, Julia
Supervisor:Alarcon Ferrari, Cristian
Examiner:Varley, Gwendolyn and Fischer, Harry
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2024
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM009 Rural Development and Natural Resource Management - Master's Programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:peasants, autonomy, agroecology, bureaucracy
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Deposited On:03 Jul 2024 13:26
Metadata Last Modified:03 Jul 2024 13:26

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