Legitimating community supported agriculture through American pastoralist ideology

Press, M. and Arnould, E. J. (2011) Legitimating community supported agriculture through American pastoralist ideology. Journal of Consumer Culture, 11(2), pp. 168-194. (doi: 10.1177/1469540511402450)

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We use a socio-historical lens to look at how Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) have gained legitimacy as a market form. In this article, we question the countercultural conception of CSAs, especially given their rapid growth over the past 25 years. We contend that placing CSA within a larger frame of reference that incorporates American pastoral values and connects CSA to the history of American pastoralism helps account for how CSA has gained legitimacy with mainstream users. We show that American pastoralism provides a link between 19th century agrarian ideals, 1950s suburbia, 1970s counter-cultural communards, and today’s CSAs. In showing the ubiquity and chameleon like character of American pastoralist ideology, we suggest that it is an important example of a cultural imaginary, which is inducing change in food markets in the United States and at the same time masking certain cultural contradictions. We propose that the development of the Internet as a channel of communication has aided in building legitimacy for this market form by promoting both more personal commercial communications and the possibility of de-massification of communications. Thus, CSAs’ web presence reinforces egalitarian principles and the perception of shared community that are central ingredients of pastoralist ideology.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Press, Dr Melea
Authors: Press, M., and Arnould, E. J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Journal of Consumer Culture
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1741-2900
Published Online:13 July 2011

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