Soil as a site of struggle: differentiated rifts under different modes of farming in intensive commercial agriculture in urbanizing China
Huijiao Xu, Jingzhong Ye
Corresponding authors: Jingzhong Ye, e-mail: email@example.com
The Journal of Peasant Studies, Published online
Abstract: The metabolic rifts resulted from the rural urban divide and agricultural commodification require remedy with synthetic fertilizers, multiple labour practices and other methods of repair in urbanizing China. The case study in North China shows that the metabolic rift unfolds in an uneven way in different farmer groups with differential labour patterns and livelihood strategies. Simple commodity producers have generally greater potential than capitalized family farmers to ameliorate soil by internalizing external squeeze. This implies contradictory processes and a complex dialectic of destruction and replenishment which makes soil a site of struggle and metabolic rift an increasingly ambivalent notion. This contradiction between intensive ‘modern agriculture’ and its complex material base will ultimately limit the sustainable development of agriculture, which requires a fundamental change of the productivist paradigm and a return to ecological principles.
Keywords: metabolic rift; metabolic repair; soil fertility; sustainable agriculture
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2021.1907352