AbstractsSocial Work

A gender analysis of agricultural and rural restructuring in the Mallee region

by Josephine Lisa Clarke

Institution: Monash University
Department: Department of Social Work / Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Unit
Year: 2015
Keywords: Gender analysis; Agricultural and rural restructuring; Wellbeing; Climate change; Social impacts
Record ID: 1064138
Full text PDF: http://arrow.monash.edu.au/hdl/1959.1/1158753


This PhD thesis outlines a gendered analysis of agricultural and rural restructuring in the Mallee region of north-west Victoria. In contrast to the usual focus on ‘structural adjustment’, it seeks to understand gendered social relationships in a changing agricultural industry context, and a political and economic context framed by climate challenges. The research is conducted with women and men – including couples – who are farming and / or who have left farming. Participants articulate gendered relationships and subjectivities, and comment on gendered social relationships in the context of multiple pressures including climatic changes, drought and declining terms of trade. The findings of this research highlight the multiple exits that are occurring in agricultural and rural restructuring and the numerous, often disparate, ways women and men leave farming. The experiences of restructuring and leaving farming are diverse and gendered. This research suggests that agriculture in the Mallee region is becoming further masculinised as a result of the differing ways participants are exiting farming. Further, as gender relations are renegotiated during this time of extraordinary changes, these in turn challenge discourses of family farming. Finally, in the local-global nexus of gender relations, many participants offer insights into managing the stresses and challenges of ongoing agricultural restructuring.