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Title: Rebels for the soil : the lonely furrow of the Soil Association, 1943-2002
Author: Reed, Matthew James
ISNI:       0000 0001 2424 3013
Awarding Body: University of the West of England at Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2003
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The purpose of this study is to examine the development of the British Organic movement through a careful examination of the discourse of its principal organisation, the Soil Association. After providing an introduction to the rest of the text, the existing literature about Organic farming is reviewed and critically assessed. The next chapter provides an explanation of the analytical tools used in the rest of the study and the various methods by which the evidence for the study was collected. Having established the form of the thesis, its background and theoretical stance, the discussion moves to the groups that contributed to the formation of the Soil Association and the manner in which the organisation's discourse was formed. By presenting new evidence and analysis, it clearly establishes the influence of nationalist organisations on the new organisation. In considering the influence of these nationalists on the new Association, it demonstrates how the new organisation fell silent on social questions and began to emphasise science. This new emphasis on trying to prove the scientific validity of Organic farming placed considerable strain on the Association which eventually resulted in the collapse of its main research farm after 20 years of effort. Through this collapse, the organisation was reconfigured, picking up ideas that it had earlier discarded and seeking new ways of operating. The Soil Association of the early 1970s had developed a standards and certification scheme, as well as a far reaching critique of industrial agriculture. Due to the internal conflict in which it had become embroiled, it was not able to take immediate advantage of these discursive options. At this point, the study moves to thematic studies of the development of the Soil Association since that point. These studies examine in turn: the role of animal disease in the advance of organic farming, the development of production standards, the revolt against genetically modified foods and the management of the rapid growth of the movement at the end of the last century. The final chapter provides a summary and critique of the thesis, before sign-posting possible future paths for research and the Organic movement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available