Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Agroecology Versus Productivism: Competing Discourses on the Future of Cuban Agriculture

Over the past twenty years, Cuba has become a poster child for agroecology. However, there has been little scholarship investigating how this movement has affected the social worlds of growers or the extent of their ethical commitments to agroecology. This paper contextualizes these questions in a broader scholarship on alternative agriculture, and pinpoints state and para-state discourses as major influences on agricultural practice. Through analysis of Cuban agricultural manuals and newspaper articles, two distinct discourses on Cuban agriculture are identified: productivism and agroecology. In contrast to earlier research that painted state and non-state actors as relatively equal contributors to sustainable agriculture, this analysis suggests that actors with more autonomy from central government have played a larger role in promoting an ethical commitment to agroecology. Employing a social practice of identity theory, the paper suggests the productivist discourse may spark resentment among growers who have embodied the commitment to agroecology.