Meet the new boss ... same as the old boss?: technology, toil and tension in the agrofuel frontier

Brian Garvey, David Tyfield, Leonardo Freire de Mello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Agrofuels are increasingly sourced and sold as a socially and environmentally beneficial solution to oil dependence. The promotion of sugar-derived ethanol as a substitute for petroleum has thus been key to state development and international trade policies by Brazil and the European Union, respectively, and subsequent investment by leading energy and food transnational corporations has transformed socio-spatial relations in the new sites of production. Brazilian rural worker testimonies, however, point to large-scale labour exclusion rather than reform and a deepening, rather than disruption, of historic power inequalities in the sector. Labour contestation challenges a converging institutional discourse of responsible technological innovation and social upgrading associated with emerging commodity chains and the 'green' economy. Although corporate and statutory response has been market-orientated certification and 'more technology' the idea of the 'techno-institutional fix' provides a power relation-attentive analysis that invites the further exploration of socially committed alternatives to food and energy production.

LanguageEnglish
Pages79-94
Number of pages16
JournalNew Technology, Work and Employment
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2015

Fingerprint

international trade policy
Personnel
labor
food
energy production
International trade
technical innovation
testimony
Sugars
certification
commodity
corporation
Ethanol
exclusion
Brazil
promotion
Crude oil
Innovation
energy
worker

Keywords

  • agroenergy
  • Brazil
  • commodity chains
  • labour
  • rural
  • technology

Cite this

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abstract = "Agrofuels are increasingly sourced and sold as a socially and environmentally beneficial solution to oil dependence. The promotion of sugar-derived ethanol as a substitute for petroleum has thus been key to state development and international trade policies by Brazil and the European Union, respectively, and subsequent investment by leading energy and food transnational corporations has transformed socio-spatial relations in the new sites of production. Brazilian rural worker testimonies, however, point to large-scale labour exclusion rather than reform and a deepening, rather than disruption, of historic power inequalities in the sector. Labour contestation challenges a converging institutional discourse of responsible technological innovation and social upgrading associated with emerging commodity chains and the 'green' economy. Although corporate and statutory response has been market-orientated certification and 'more technology' the idea of the 'techno-institutional fix' provides a power relation-attentive analysis that invites the further exploration of socially committed alternatives to food and energy production.",
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Meet the new boss ... same as the old boss? technology, toil and tension in the agrofuel frontier. / Garvey, Brian; Tyfield, David; de Mello, Leonardo Freire.

In: New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 30, No. 2, 21.07.2015, p. 79-94.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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