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Dr Steven Emery

Senior Lecturer

 I am Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Agriculture at the Centre for Rural Policy Research. My research and teaching is informed by rural sociology, social anthropology and rural geography and broadly concerns the intersection of rural land-use management, cultural values, power and governance.

I joined the University of Exeter in 2022 and am 50% seconded to Rothamsted Research (Net Zero and Resilient Farming).

Research interests

 My primary research interest is in the relationship between cultural values, practices and power in the management of the farmed landscape. I am interested in how cultural values shape farmers' decison-making, practices and responses to exogenous policy interventions. I view values as dynamic and incessantly negotiated through social interaction (using the lens of rhetoric-culture-theory) but also as subject to ideological manipulation.

I have applied this approach, more specifically, to the study of farmers' agri-environmental and collaborative behaviours,demonstrating how a more nuanced understanding of farming culture allows for a critical reflection on behavioural theory, policy interventions, and neoliberal food systems more broadly. 

Between competing demands for food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity protection and landscape heritage, debates over land-use have perhaps never been so critical and contested. By working in interdisciplinary teams and alongside multiple stakeholder groups my research seeks solutions to such debates that are both socially and environmentally just.

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