Informations et ressources scientifiques
sur le développement des zones arides et semi-arides

Accueil du site → Doctorat → Pays-Bas → 2012 → Land, kennis, moed en eenheid : conflicterende discoursen binnen samenleving en gezin over landbouw en droogte in Noordoost Brazilië

Utrecht University (2012)

Land, kennis, moed en eenheid : conflicterende discoursen binnen samenleving en gezin over landbouw en droogte in Noordoost Brazilië

Peerboom, I.B.F.C.

Titre : Land, kennis, moed en eenheid : conflicterende discoursen binnen samenleving en gezin over landbouw en droogte in Noordoost Brazilië

LAND, KNOWLEDGE, COURAGE AND UNITY Conflicting discourses within society and family about agriculture and drought in Northeastern Brazil

Auteur : Peerboom, I.B.F.C.

Université de soutenance : Utrecht University

Grade : Doctor aan de Universiteit Utrecht 2012

Résumé
This dissertation examines the survival strategies of family farmers in Conceição do Coité, Bahia, in semi-arid Brazil in 1997 and 2008 by using the livelihood framework. It analyses natural capital (land), human capital (work ethic and knowledge), and social capital (mutual aid). Greater access to these capitals is essential to reduce the vulnerability of family farmers. Land as a starting capital is the key to the household’s progress. Water is less important than social capital to obtain a good harvest. The combination of this observer-oriented livelihood approach with actor-oriented local models provides insight into the motives of family farmers. Conflicts are avoided as much as possible in a moral peasant economy that sustains needy community members. Work ethic is not only a prerequisite for peasant life but also for economic progress and the maintenance of an existence ethos. Two main changes occurred between 1997 and 2008. The first one was the occupation of a sisal plantation. The reasons were societal changes and discursive conflicts. The latter occurred because the landowner did no longer fulfil his obligations of patronage to his workers. The inalienability of land became disputed. This challenge to property rights was inconceivable in 1997, given the importance of natural capital (land). The local model of unity explains why the labour union, and not the more radical MST, initiated the land occupation. Furthermore, the dissertation describes discursive conflicts about the importance of education for peasant children, mutual aid and the appreciation of country life. The second major change was a general improvement of living conditions. The livelihood framework explains this change better than the local models. The vulnerability of the research population decreased between 1997 and 2008 because of improved access to income, drinking water, land, education and healthcare. In order to secure the future of family farming in North-eastern Brazil, a thorough rethinking of currant believes about rural livelihood strategies will be important. Family farms are struggling with a negative image. Yet, farmers are ingenious and their ecological knowledge is remarkably accurate. Moreover, the productivity of family farming is relatively high. The vulnerability of family farmers in the semi-arid area must be reduced by fine-tuning policy measures not of water and technology, but by focussing them on the poor. This has to include improved access to land, financial support, appropriate education and gender-inclusive mechanization. It is time for a new debate on climate change and family farming because present climate models are very negative about the semi-arid region. This dissertation proposes a locally specific ’climate anthropology’ to secure Brazilian family agriculture and food supply.

Mots clés : Peasant knowledge, Social capital, Vulnerability, Resources, Climate change, Semi-arid Brazil, Discursive conflict

Présentation

Version intégrale

Page publiée le 4 juin 2012, mise à jour le 29 mai 2022