Changes in Agriculture through the Farmers’ Eyes and Bodies

Basic Info


The objective of the project is to better explain the impact of radically changed post-1991 Slovenian agricultural developments on farmers’ health-related suffering than it is conveyed by occupational health evidence. The research questions - whether and how agricultural restructuring since 1991 has come to be translated into personal health-related suffering of farmers in Slovenia, and how farmers respond to, interpret, make sense of, and engage with these health-related conjunctures in agriculture – will be explored by employing an anthropological approach of the originally introduced and combined theorizations of moral economy, social suffering and health conjuncture in the field of ‘farming stress’ problematic. A theorization of ‘moral economy’ will provide a framework for examining ways in which the observed farming economy intersects with ‘moral economy’, which has implications for farmers’ wellbeing. The intellectual tradition of medical anthropologists will shape observations of personal suffering as a response to a drastically changed social situation in one’s life. Finally, the health conjuncture perspective refers only to certain elements of socially structured and temporarily situated contexts which are relevant for farmers’ experience of ‘farming stress’ circumstances and farming-related health outcomes.

The research includes two working sets. The first one involves multisite fieldwork on several conventional and organic family farms to provide rich ethnographies about interrelated social, economic, political and emotional processes which form the underlying causes of farmers’ health-related suffering. The second working set includes a review of occupational health and other health-related datasets and surveys associated with farmers to assess who among farmers (e.g. active/non-active) is included or excluded from the occupation category, and which datasets have to be harmonised to identify the health status of the ‘active’ and ‘non-active’ farmers. On the basis of results obtained from both working sets a scenario for ethnographically informed and improved health evidence of this occupational group will be designed.

Project steps

Internal communication and studying updated literature (M1-M36): Coordination of work of the project group through kick off meeting and regular working meetings per year; preparation of 1 intermediary and 1 final report; set-up of project web tools, and studying updated literature.

Pre-fieldwork logistics and multisite fieldwork (M8-M29): Determining field locations; selecting family farms; organising fieldwork logistics; conducting multisite fieldwork on family farms; transcription and thematic analyses of obtained material.

Occupational health and related datasets (M1-M29): Review and critical assessment of available public national and local datasets on occupational health and other health-related evidence of farm population; conducting several focus groups and semi-structured expert interviews about the need for improved occupational health evidence of farmers.

Final analysis and recommendations (M29-M36): Synthesis of results and findings of both working sets; designing a scenario (recommendations) for ethnographically informed occupational health evidence; preparation of conference papers, scientific articles, a dissertation and a common publication.

Dissemination (M6-M36): Dissemination of intermediary and final results in the form of a policy brief to the interested public; active participation at lay, professional and scientific events; organisation of a scientific symposium and presentation of final results in the campaign The World Occupational Safety and Health Day on 28 April; knowledge transfer to the pedagogical process.





farming stress
moral economy
social suffering
health conjuncture

Research areas
Cultural anthropology, ethnology S220