Questioning Bacteria. How Farmers in North-Eastern Poland Resist Forced Progress

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Agnieszka Kosiorowska


This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork Poland and concerns lack of trust towards expert knowledge amongst farmers living in a rural municipality in north-eastern Poland. It investigates farmers’ accounts on fraud concerning supposed frauds related to laboratory milk assessment based on food sefety standards. Questioning the reliability of laboratory tests is interpreted as a form of resistance. This phenomenon is presented in the context of changes which occured in the Polish agriculture in the last twenty years, related to Poland’s accession to the EU, increase in farms’ productivity and multiplication of standards and regulations related to milk production. Key concepts used to interprete farmers’ resistance are Michael Foucault’s « biopower » and « common sense » in the understanding proposed by Clifford Geertz.

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