Cultural methods

  • James E. Addicott


Precision farming systems delivered a new, more efficient and accurate cultural method of farming. Whilst the economic gains of precision farming were almost impossible for the local farmers interviewed to quantify, many farmers were satisfied with the technical gains precision farming systems enabled following adoption. Some of the realised benefits were new ways of seeing and knowing their crops, increased accuracy in crop work and accounting methods, and the practical and symbolic rewards of tidier farm landscapes. Cultural gains not only came at the cost of the technologies but to attain new organisational capacitates farmers had to abdicate certain degrees of control over information and means of production, which were appropriated by networks of off-farm firms. It concludes by discussing the appropriation of control over aspects of conventional farm systems by transnational firms in relation to traditional family farming cultures of the Somerset area.


  1. Burton, R. J. F. (2004). Seeing Through the ‘Good Farmer’s’ Eyes: Towards Developing an Understanding of the Social Symbolic Value of ‘Productivist’ Behaviour. Sociologia Ruralis, 44, 195–215. Scholar
  2. Burton, R. J. F. (2012). Understanding Farmers’ Aesthetic Preference for Tidy Agricultural Landscapes: A Bourdieusian Perspective. Landscape Research, 37, 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dean, K. (2014). Capitalism, Citizenship, and the Arts of Thinking: A Marxist-Arisotelian Linguistic Account. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Defra and The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP. (2015). Environment Secretary Unveils Vision for Open Data to Transform Food and Farming. UK Gov.
  5. Dickens, P. (1996). Reconstructing Nature. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Dickens, P. (2004). Society & Nature. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dickens, P. (2009). Congnitive Capitalism and Species-Being. In S. Moog & R. Stones (Eds.), Nature, Social Relations and Human Needs (pp. 107–127). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillian.Google Scholar
  8. Dickens, P., & Ormrod, J. S. (2007). Cosmic Society. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. European Parliamentary Research Service. (2016). Precision Agriculture and the Future of Farming in Europe. In L. V. Woensel (Ed.), Science and Technology Options Assessment. Brussels: European Union.Google Scholar
  10. Goodman, D., Sorj, B., & Wilkinson, J. (1987). From Farming to Biotechnology: A Theory of Agro-Industrial Development. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Habermas, J. (1971). Towards a Rational Society. London: Heinemann Educational Books.Google Scholar
  12. Harvey, D. (1992). The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Harvey, D. (2001). Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Huber, J. (2004). New Technologies and Environmental Innovation. Cheltenham: Edware Elgar.Google Scholar
  15. Marx, K. (2007 [1867]). Das Kapital. Iowa City: Synergy International of the Americas.Google Scholar
  16. Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1974). The German Ideology. London: Lawrence & Wishart.Google Scholar
  17. Mol, A. P. J. (1996). Ecological Modernisation and Institutional Reflexivity: Environmental Reform in the Late Modern Age. Environmental Politics, 5, 302–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mol, A. P. J. (2008). Environmental Reform in the Information Age: The Contours of Informational Governance. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Moulier Boutang, Y. (2011). Cognitive Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  20. Murphy, R. (1994). Rationality & Nature: A Sociological Inquiry into a Changing Relationship. Oxford: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  21. Newby, H. (1997). The Deferential Worker: A Study of Farm Workers in East Anglia. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  22. Quinn, J. (2016). Skilled Workforces and Precision Agriculture. In R. Schrijver (Ed.), Technical Horizon Scan: Precision Agriculture and the Future of Farming in Europe. Brussels: STOA, EU.Google Scholar
  23. Ritzer, G. (2011). The McDonaldization of Society 6. Newbury Park, CA: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  24. Sutherland, L.-A. (2013). Can Organic Farmers Be ‘Good Farmers’? Adding the ‘Taste of Necessity’ to the Conventionalization Debate. Agriculture and Human Values, 30, 429–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Szabo, J. (2013). Autonomy in Agriculture. The National Farmers Union Mutual Charitable Trust.Google Scholar
  26. The Farm Practices Survey. (2009). 2. Precision Farming Technology (DEFRA, Ed.).
  27. The Farm Practices Survey. (2012). 2.1: Proportion of Farms Using Precision Farming Techniques (DEFRA, Ed.). DEFRA.
  28. Toscano, A. (2007). From Pin Factories to Gold Farmers: Editorial Introduction to a Research Stream on Cognitive Capitalism, Immaterial Labour, and the General Intellect. Historical Materialism, 15, 3–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vercellone, C. (2007). From Formal Subsumption to General Intellect: Elements for a Marxist Reading of the Thesis of Cognitive Capitalism. Historical Materialism-Research in Critical Marxist Theory, 15, 13–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Weber, M. (2003). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  31. Wiens, K. (2015). We Can’t Let John Deere Destroy the Very Idea of Ownership. Wired Business. Wired.
  32. Wolf, S., & Wood, S. (1997). Precision Farming: Environmental Legitimation, Commodification of Information, and Industrial Coordination. Rural Sociology, 62, 180–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zukerfeld, M. (2017). Knowledge in the Age of Digital Capitalism: An Introduction to Cognitive Materialism. London: University of Westminster Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Addicott
    • 1
  1. 1.BathUK

Personalised recommendations