Revealing different understandings of soil held by scientists and farmers in the context of soil protection and management

Ingram, Julie ORCID: 0000-0003-0712-4789, Fry, Patricia and Mathieu, Ann (2008) Revealing different understandings of soil held by scientists and farmers in the context of soil protection and management. Land Use Policy, 27 (1). pp. 51-60. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2008.07.005

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This paper aims to analyse and draw together results from similar studies in England, Switzerland and France which investigated farmers' understanding of soil and compared it with that of scientists, researchers and advisors (collectively called scientists in this analysis). A range of methods were used across the three studies and different theoretical approaches, looking at forms of knowledge, local practice of knowledge production and conceptions of reality, were employed to explain the results. Despite the different contexts, methodologies and theoretical approaches in the three studies, the results reveal similar patterns of difference in farmer and scientist understanding of soil. In the English study, farmers demonstrate a 'know-how' form or intuitive working knowledge of soil while advisors rely on scientifically established forms of 'know-why' and seek to understand and explain soil processes. Similarly in the Swiss study farmers' and scientists' differing perceptions are directed and shaped by their respective aims, methods and context of work. In the French study, farmers and researchers are shown to have different conceptions of soil, they attribute different meaning to the same activities, and use different words and language to describe the same features. In all three studies understanding is shown to be cultural and contextual, as such an integrative theoretical framework is proposed.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soil erosion, Farmer, Scientist, Advisor, Knowledge, Perception, Conception, Knowledge cultures, France, Switzerland, England
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Debi Jones-Davis
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2014 12:53
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2021 12:02

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