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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (2017)

The goats are my friends, my children, my everything ! : a study of remote farmers and farm workers in Botswana and their attitudes to their goats

Arvidsson, Anna,

Titre : The goats are my friends, my children, my everything ! : a study of remote farmers and farm workers in Botswana and their attitudes to their goats

Auteur : Arvidsson, Anna,

Université de soutenance : Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Grade : Master’s thesis in Rural Development and Natural Resource Management 2017

Résumé
Through offering a variety of funding programmes, in recent years the government of Botswana has made an attempt to promote goat production, partly with the aim of alleviating poverty among the resource-poor rural population. Goat production is also emerging as an alternative for the non-poor, as the goat market is expected to grow and as goats are perceived as a good complement or alternative for cattle, as they are better adapted to the more frequent climate change-induced droughts expected in southern Africa. In this thesis, I explore how animal owners and farm workers perceive goats in different ways. Using an analytical framework drawing on political ecology, I place goats in the centre of the narrative in this thesis, with emphasis on how the participants of this study manage their goats. I also investigate how unequal power relations between animal owners and farm workers are described and reproduced. The concept of passive resistance proved useful when exploring how farm workers find ways to resist unjust labour control from their employers and the concept of power in examining the asymmetrical relationship between animal owners and farm workers. Empirical data for the analyses were collected, using a variety of qualitative research methods, during field work in rural Botswana in early 2017. Using the method of sensitising concepts within the grounded theory approach, I began analysing the empirical data already in the field. The results showed that farm workers are often underpaid, exploited and mistreated by their employers and that this unjust treatment of farm workers has negative spillover effects on goats. Overall, this study shows that it is crucial to critically evaluate the social processes involved in goat production in order to improve social justice among humans and improve animal welfare among goats.

Mots Clés  : Political ecology, intersectionality, goats, power, livestock, passive resistance, agriculture, Botswana.

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Page publiée le 15 juin 2020