Sunday, 24 June 2018

The cosmopolitan farmer: Ideas and practices beyond travel and internationalisation

Journal of Rural Studies Volume 61, July 2018, Pages 63-72 Author links open overlay panelSusanneStenbackaaCeciliaBygdellb a Uppsala University, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Box 513, S – 751 20, Uppsala, Sweden b Upplandsmuseet, Drottninggatan 7, S - 753 10, Uppsala, Sweden Received 22 May 2017, Revised 20 March 2018, Accepted 5 June 2018, Available online 8 June 2018. crossmark-logo Get rights and content Highlights • Farmers exhibit cosmopolitanism, speaking from a specific spatial position. • Cosmopolitanism includes a commitment to rural places and their inhabitants. • This work emphasises the local as a site of global exchange and interaction. • The presumed depiction of farmers as strongly connected to the local is challenged. Abstract The occupation of farmer has traditionally been associated with spatial boundaries expressed in farm organisation and renewal, including generational succession, attachment to land and a local activity range. Recent studies have pointed to the existence of new forms of attachment and a rise in transnational activities, contributing to new perspectives on farmers' identity and development of practices in response to change in agribusiness. In this paper we seek to add to the ongoing discussion of how farming practices develop, with reference to contemporary translocal practices in Swedish farming, asking whether and how farming relates to cosmopolitanism. Being a globalised industry and activity, farming involves translocal practices expressed in farmer and labour mobility, information exchange and economic and political interdependencies. Cosmopolitanism as an idea and in relation to practices contributes to understanding of what characterises transnational practices and what they are intended to achieve. We argue that farmers exhibit cosmopolitanism, but from a specific spatial position. Cosmopolitanism is thus not free from spatial connections, while references to mobility are numerous. Someone has to be mobile, but it does not always have to be the farmer. Mobility may be a means to achieve something, but cosmopolitanism as a mode of thought and action is more embedded in everyday work and strategies on the farm. Previous article Next article Keywords Cosmopolitanism Farming Mobility Networks 1. Introduction The occupation of farmer has traditionally been associated with diverse kinds of continuity and spatial boundary, including generational succession, attachment to land and a local activity range. Attachment to land and place due to inheritance and kinship has been seen as embedded in the occupation of farmer (Chesire et al., 2014). Similarly, integration of home and workplace and deep knowledge of the land are characteristics associated with agriculture and the ‘farming spirit’ (Flemsæter, 2009; Hildenbrandt and Hennon, 2005). Such bonds with the physical environment have been shown to affect farming practices in such a way that they may limit room for manoeuvre. Evidently, they also pose the risk of amplifying a farmer's trauma when the business collapses (Hildenbrandt and Hennon, 2005). Over the past few decades, the occupation and identity of farmers pursuing business restructuring have been signified by independence and strong bonds with the farm, on the one hand, and increased mobility and networking on the other. In the former strand of research the identity of farmer has been described as infused by loneliness and vulnerability. Restructuring of the sector has resulted in fewer and larger farms, and the family-farm concept has been superseded by the one-person business (Kallioniemi et al., 2016). Farmers' social situation has changed, which has meant fewer contacts with other farmers and also, according to Nordström Källström (2008), with the consumers of their goods; accordingly, farmers experience loneliness. Problems related to loneliness are incorporated in their identities as farmers (Kallioniemi et al., 2016). However, the occupation of farmer is practised not in isolation but, rather, close to the surrounding physical, cultural and economic environment. It is dependent upon economic and political structures. Farming is also a profession and practice that develop in relation to agroindustry in national and international contexts, and to the customers, food consumers and rural population. Consequently, the identity of the solitary farmer has also been questioned. The farmer may be alone in the tractor or while feeding the animals, but elsewhere on the farm or in the village the farmer has extensive networks comprising family, relatives and neighbours, who are crucial for making the farm function (Flygare, 1999). A more recent strand of research focuses on the farmer as an actor in a global setting, engaged in an ongoing occupational transformation. This strand emphasises mobility and openness towards new ways of running the business. In this interpretation, farmers are becoming global actors and travellers. New forms of attachment are arising (Cheshire and Woods, 2013), and expanding transnational activities (Cheshire and Woods, 2013) are contributing to new perspectives on the farmer's identity and practical developments in response to agroindustrial change. For Chesire et al. (2014), farmers who travel and sell their products on international markets are to be regarded as cosmopolitans. Accordingly, not only agricultural goods but also their producers are mobile and, in their travel, the producers show a pronounced will to achieve openness and ‘cross-cultural mastery’ (Chesire et al., 2014: 100). Cosmopolitanism is thus bound up with travel across national borders, and dependent on movements of people. Farmers evidently operate in both a local and international context, which contributes to their perception of the local as a site of global exchange and interaction. We use the term ‘translocal’ rather than ‘transnational’, and this standpoint has emerged with the growth of insights into farmers' local activities and ties, as well as interest in other localities and actors. ‘Translocality’ (or ‘translocalism’) has been referred to as capturing social-spatial interactions with an actor-oriented approach (Greiner and Sakdapolrak, 2013: 376). In this article we seek to add to the ongoing discussion of how farming practices develop, with reference to contemporary translocal practices in Swedish farming, asking whether and how farming relates to cosmopolitanism. Being a globalised industry and activity, farming involves translocal practices embodied in farmer and labour mobility, exchange of information and economic and political interdependencies. This study follows the mobility and cosmopolitan perspective on farming. We explore how ideas and practices related to cosmopolitanism are present in contemporary Swedish farming and how these ideas and practices also extend beyond travel and business internationalisation. Our study elucidates how attachment to land can be combined with understanding of the relationship between farms and the rest of the world that is based on attributes associated with a cosmopolitan world view. These include openness, connectedness, a holistic perspective and acknowledgement of the farm as part of a worldwide system of producing and consuming agricultural products. The contribution of this study is thus to emphasise mobility, both abstract and embodied. The research question is formulated as follows: how do farmers express cosmopolitanism in their thoughts and/or practices? 2. Farmers, internationalisation and mobility Our theoretical focus on rural cosmopolitanism prompts us to investigate some specific, farming-related aspects. This includes work to internationalise the labour force and farmers' networks and mobility practices. 2.1. Internationalisation of the labour force and worker mobility By employing people from the local surroundings or from other regions or countries, farmers affect rural society. They offer job opportunities and cause a local population increase that raises issues about migrants' contributions to translocal rural processes (Rye, 2014). It has been debated whether these migrant workers participate in local life; their interaction with the local community is described by some researchers as weak, and there is no pronounced transnational identity (Andrzejewska and Rye, 2012). At farm level, labour–capital relations develop and cooperative social contexts arguably contribute to certain work arrangements, including structural disempowerment (Rye and Andrzejewska, 2010). The reason for hiring workers from other countries is a perceived lack of workers with the right skills and attitudes. Employers want workers whom they can trust and who represent continuity. (Zachrison et al., n.d.). Volunteers are one specific group of migrant farm workers. Researchers in tourism studies have paid attention to voluntary work in international organisations such as World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, WWOOF (Deville et al., 2016; Mostafanezhad, 2016; Mostafanezhad et al., 2015; Yamamoto and Engelsted, 2014). In these studies volunteers are primarily seen as tourists, but of the kind that resist conventional tourism (Deville et al., 2016). These studies state that the foremost driving force for voluntary engagement in farm work is the opportunity to experience other cultures by taking part in everyday life in rural areas (cf. Deville et al., 2016: 98ff). A desire to learn more about organic farms and alternative ways of living is also present, but seen as a subordinated wish to experience other countries from within. This represents volunteers not primarily as farm workers, but as (young) people interested in learning more about alternative ways of living. Voluntary work on farms has also been studied within the framework of an existing caring economy (Lans, 2016) or as spaces of encounter (Ince, 2015). Ince concludes that WWOOF participants ’negotiate the grey area between mutual aid and voluntary (self-)exploitation' (Ince, 2015, 837). The organisational structure of WWOOF, with its more or less autonomous operation, means that the WWOOF ethos is adapted to local contexts, ‘relatively independently of the hierarchical structures of capital and state’ (Ince, 2015, 833). The global network thus results in local outcomes, and farmer hosts develop diverse practices. According to Lans (2016) there are, broadly, two different kinds of farmer host. First, there are the hosts who are interested in sharing knowledge about farming methods and the like, and values around organic farming, and in helping young adults to develop. Second, there are those who are interested in getting extra labour on their farm. Voluntary work is seen as part of social relations and interdependence between volunteers and hosts, based on common interests and mutual trust. For first-time migrant farmers, however, the networks that voluntary work creates may be seen as replacing family networks and place-bound networks (Mostafanezhad et al., 2015: 128). At the same time, there are economic realities that make this kind of labour valuable, since it primarily benefits small enterprises with limited scope to afford employees. Although volunteers and hosts are seen as sharing common values, Lans points to the fact that the relationship is not to be seen as an ‘idealistic and ethical space’ (Lans, 2016: 19), free from conflicts. There are, for example, systems where volunteers may warn each other of hosts who perform poorly, which indicate that there may be uneven power relationships between hosts and volunteers. 2.2. Networks, mobilities and flows In a study on Australian farmers, Cheshire and Woods, 2013 investigate emotional attachments to place and farm among ‘globally engaged farmers’, i.e. those who continuously negotiate how to meet economic and political realities applying in a global industry. They categorise farmer attachment in three decoupled elements: ‘attachment to farming as an activity and source of agrarian identity; attachment to the farm as an economic and social unit; and attachment to place’. The specific context will affect the way these various elements of attachment are balanced, and the farmers' choices reflect emotional attachments as well as rational economic decision-making (Cheshire and Woods, 2013). Thus, farmers develop mobility and network practices in relation to strengthening the business, perhaps in response to external demands or as opportunities identified as aligned with the farmers' own interests. Globalisation processes create opportunities for business development, while it may also be necessary to meet needs shaped in the contemporary business climate. These farmers are agents of globalisation, regardless of whether they are driven by business interests and have an intensive schedule or travel in a more immersive way, driven by an interest in new farming systems and a desire to see more than an ordinary tourist would (Cheshire and Woods, 2013: 240). Young farmers' strategies involve learning and acquiring knowledge from different sources, which also foster mobility and networking. A study focusing plans and ideas among agricultural students shows that student farmers' strategy for achieving future resilience and being competitive is to use knowledge of a local and global nature (Grubbström et al., 2014). One way to attain knowledge is to learn from working at or visiting farms abroad. Such international visits and contacts may also lead to cooperation and create networks, and the identity of the networking and cooperating farmer seems to be increasingly pronounced. Mobility may encourage horizontal and vertical collaboration, as shown in a study on farmers attending farmers' markets in Western Canada. Challenges of, for example, scale, infrastructure and organisational capacity are met by initiation collaboration — which arises from vendor mobility. In their clustering, social goals and economic activities are integrated, leading to innovation in food provision (Beckie et al., 2012). The above two sections, which focus on migrant farm workers, farmers' mobility and networks, identify farms as sites where individual encounters take place, migrant biographies are shaped, new farmer identities develop and businesses transform and take new directions. Cheshire and Woods (2013) describe the farmers in their study as agents of globalisation; travelling is part of their practices and identity as farmers, but with varying intensity and range. Inspired by the earlier literature on mobility among farm workers, farmers as global actors and farm units as points of departure for mobility and translocal meetings, our aim is to interpret and explain farmers' thoughts and practices as expressions of cosmopolitanism. We then follow Johansen (2014) call to investigate ‘where and how’ cosmopolitanism is located and expressed. In the limelight, too, is the intersection of global structures and relationships and local, individual encounters. Such an undertaking needs a theoretical framework in which cosmopolitanism acknowledges the meaning of place, rather than denying it, and where mobility is accompanied by non-mobility and spatial attachments. 2.3. Cosmopolitanism: more than mobility The word ‘cosmopolitan’ derives from the Greek word kosmopolitês (‘citizen of the world’). At its core is the idea of a single community uniting all human beings, regardless of their diverse affiliations. This community is variously envisioned as focusing on political institutions, moral norms or relationships, shared markets or forms of cultural expression (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2013), for example. The concept of cosmopolitanism underwent a revival in the late 18th century, when it was taken up by Kant as a way of discussing ethics in times of nation-state formation. He used cosmopolitanism as a vision of individuals' right to be treated hospitably when they cross national borders for economic and political reasons. Since Kant, cosmopolitanism has been understood as including hospitality, expressed as an interest in other people and places. The concept has an ethical dimension, involving responsibility for people and phenomena worldwide (cf. Popke, 2007). Cosmopolitanism is thus, in most versions, a positive ideal — something to strive for or admire and a voluntary choice. One of the most widespread readings of cosmopolitanism, according to Beck (2006: 17), is that it pleads for harmony beyond national and cultural boundaries (‘normative’ or ‘philosophical cosmopolitanism’). The concept has been routinely associated with metropolitan areas, with the rural excluded (Johansen, 2009) and neither belonging to cosmopolitan communities nor hosting cosmopolitan practices. In her book Cosmopolitanism and Place (2014), Johansen argues that cosmopolitanism is sometimes seen as accompanying multiplicity and diversity in urban areas. This is problematic for four reasons. First, it assumes that urban life means exposure to diversity, but the opposite may also be true: in metropolitan areas people may well stay in their own area and interact with others who are similar to them. Second, it assumes that exposure to diversity will lead to cosmopolitanism, which is not necessarily true. Third, it assumes that for someone not exposed to diversity, a cosmopolitan world view would be impossible. Fourth and finally, it is a view that ignores the multiplicity of non-metropolitan or rural places. One reason for the often assumed and implicit notion of urban–cosmopolitan affinity may be certain unquestioned connotations of the concept: airports, big cities and highly mobile individuals belonging to a class of sometimes powerful members — an elite (Beck, 2006:19). ‘Cosmopolitanism’ may also sometimes connote people who are less powerful but can still direct their own lives, and mobility may be equated with opportunities. In 2007 Michel Woods published an article on globalisation in a rural context, and the field concerned with globalisation and cosmopolitanism in rural areas has since expanded (see, for example, Cheshire and Woods, 2013; Chesire et al., 2014; Jansson and Andersson, 2012; Popke, 2011). Thus, it is not premature to state that there is a common understanding of rural areas' participation in globalisation and cosmopolitanism. One frequently quoted definition of cosmopolitanism is Hannerz's (1990: 239), stating that it may be understood as ‘an orientation, a willingness to engage with the Other’. He proceeds to argue that cosmopolitanism is more easily taken up by people who can ‘afford it’, involving intentional practices managed by those who have the room for manoeuvre to decide when and how to dedicate themselves to cosmopolitanism. This definition, however, limits the connotations to interpersonal relationships, while we as geographers are interested in people's relationships with places, the environment and the local community. A definition that can lead us in that direction is ‘territorialised cosmopolitanism’. 2.4. Territorialised cosmopolitanism Cosmopolitanism, and the perception that it connects the individual to ‘the world’ rather than to different locations, must still exist somewhere: it becomes a construct with a meaning shaped by both local and global affiliations. What Harvey summarily calls ‘adjectival cosmopolitanisms’ (2009: 114) have been used to elude an often described conflict between local and global scales. Inserting an adjective before ‘cosmopolitanism’ has been a way of describing it as a condition in which local circumstances must form part of, rather than being opposed to, cosmopolitanism. Harvey sees these concepts as a way of ‘combining respect for local differences with compelling universal principles’ (2009: 114). Harvey also notes that cosmopolitan theory can be replete with admirable ideals, while suggestions for practical implementation are rare (Harvey, 2009). We argue that studying farmers' practices is somehow a way to identify practical expressions of cosmopolitanism. These expressions and their consequences are, on the other hand, a basis for work to formulate measures that may encourage certain practices. ‘Rooted cosmopolitanism’ contains scope for being committed to many scales. First introduced by Cohen (1992), the term has been used above all in discussions of nationalism in relation to cosmopolitanism. Being ‘rooted’ means that the national scale can be present in how we understand cosmopolitanism and how we enter global relationships, since the actual site of action is of importance. Using the word ‘rooted’ is also a way of contradicting a view of cosmopolitanism as causing homogenisation, and contributing to a world where differences are decreasing (Appiah, 1997). Instead, ‘rooted cosmopolitanism’ suggests that being based in a particular place also makes cosmopolitans and cosmopolitanism perform in a variety of ways. If cosmopolitans act in a local context, then cosmopolitans all over the world must differ. The term ‘local cosmopolitanism’ is an alternative term aiming at emphasising the intersection of the local and the global. Van Assche and Teampău (2015) are of the view that cosmopolitanism cannot exist without a local context and global connections, and interpret the latter from a local standpoint. In their opinion, cosmopolitanism must always be a product of local circumstances, since these too influence how global processes are perceived. They refer to global narratives, formed by local and global discursive elements (2015, 23), as the basis for a local cosmopolitanism. ‘Territorialised cosmopolitanism’ is developed in relation to rooted and local cosmopolitanism, the aim being greater emphasis on place. The concept, as developed by Johansen (2014), can be used to acknowledge the importance of location and attachment to place while avoiding implications of fixity. She seeks to improve and broaden the concept of ‘rooted cosmopolitanism’ to make it more open to having several affiliations in space. There may be ‘plural loyalties’ that make people active in, and attached to, many places. The word ‘rooted’, as understood by Johansen, suggests a particular location where someone has affiliations. ‘Territorialised’, on the other hand, indicate that this place is under constant construction. She also criticises the use of the word ‘roots’, which ‘evokes a sense of tradition and inheritance,’ she writes (2014: 9). Johansen quotes Cohen (1992), who calls for: a dialectical concept or rooted cosmopolitanism, which accepts a multiplicity of roots and branches and that rests on the legitimacy of plural loyalties, of standing in many circles, but with common ground (Cohen, 1992, quoted inJohansen, 2014:8). Territorialised cosmopolitanism, she further explains, is: … a mode of global connection that, following Cohen, encompasses a multiplicity of affiliations and connections — including both those that are chosen and those that are not — but is particularly attentive to their expression in place (Johansen, 2014: 11). Exemplifying this with the global peasant movement La Via Campesina, Johansen emphasises that place inspires cosmopolitan connections, such as solidarity across scales and locations, and thus does not disavow its importance: The ‘main issues’ of La Via Campesina are a variable collection that points to both material goals and more systemic issues: agrarian reform, biodiversity, sustainable peasant's agriculture, and women and youth issues (2014: 2). These fundamental issues are based on place but also ‘global and local in their execution’ (2014:2). The farmers investigated in this study are not formally engaged in similar networks; however, their practices express cosmopolitanism in ideas and connections and in the strategies related to farm development. Moreover, they express their sense of belonging to a global production system (not chosen by them) and they actively engage in various networks in their (chosen) form of production. Both these kinds of processes affect what is performed locally: how they are expressed in situ. Much of the debate regarding the concept of ‘rooted cosmopolitanism’ has been concerned with sorting out whether cosmopolitanism may actually be seen as including an attachment to the home location. Johansen regards this as beyond doubt. Instead, Johansen is interested in ‘where and how’ cosmopolitanism is located and expressed. This shifts the focus from the question whether it is at all possible to have affiliations on several scales to investigating where these scales and, more precisely, places are, and what is happening there. Cosmopolitanism cannot and does not exist in a physical vacuum, so territorializing cosmopolitanism entails, necessarily, querying what (and who) signals cosmopolitanism (Johansen, 2014: 11). Like Johansen, we do not question whether farmers may have plural loyalties. On the one hand, they may work in occupations that depend on physical land and have strong feelings for the land; on the other, they may show interest in global food issues and people's living conditions elsewhere. Loyalty towards the local farmland is not necessarily in conflict with loyalty towards farmers in other countries, local consumers or consumers elsewhere. The interesting question is rather how this is expressed in farmers' everyday practices. Previous literature on farmers as global agents, the farm as an international workplace and internationalisation of agriculture has recognised the impact of economic and political structures, as well as the experiences of farmers, farm workers and volunteers. This article contributes an analysis of farmers' motives and strategies in relation to the global production system, as well as the local environment and social community. We thus attempt to expose the interconnectedness of the global and the local within the framework of territorialised cosmopolitanism. 3. Method and material The empirical material consists of 13 interviews with farmers, who were selected on strategic grounds. Because of our focus on farmers' motives and strategies in relation to internationalisation, translocal networks and recruitment of international workers, in our dialogue with the farming organisation we asked for contacts with farmers who had experience of such matters. The farmers were thus chosen because they had shown an interest in taking part in international networks and exchange, and because of their ways of recruiting employees, receiving trainees, developing their farming methods or engaging in farming politics, or their affiliation to sales organisations. Farmers' associations helped us to find some of the farmers, but we also used websites and contacts to identify suitable interviewees. The interviews were semistructured in nature and lasted one to 2 h. Most of the interviews took place on the farms, but we also met farmers at other workplaces. The farmers live in four different counties (Uppland, Kalmar, Jönköping and Gotland) in Sweden (Fig. 1). They are all located in traditional agricultural districts with high land productivity. Uppland, in proximity to the Stockholm area, is the most densely populated area. Kalmar and Jönköping counties are less densely populated but regions with a long agricultural tradition, where there is relatively little competition for land. Gotland is an island with a long tradition of tourism and second homes, which also tend to boost property prices. Fig. 1 Download high-res image (287KB)Download full-size image Fig. 1. Sweden with the counties of Jönköping, Kalmar, Gotland, and Uppsala marked in grey. Some of the interviewees have multiple branches of production while others concentrate on a single form of production. There are both conventional and organic farmers. There are those who have inherited their farms, those that have expanded them by buying more units and those who have bought all the land they cultivate. These farmers have employed workers from other countries (in most cases Eastern Europe) but with volunteers or trainees from other countries as well, or have previous experience of doing so. The workforce ranges from a few volunteers up to more than 20 employees during the most intensive parts of the year. In many respects, the interviewees thus differ among themselves. This is a strength of the present study, since cosmopolitan ideas and actions were sought in many different farming contexts. When earlier studies (e.g. Cheshire and Woods, 2013) have discussed cosmopolitanism mostly in larger farm units, we have been able to complement these findings thanks to the variation of farms in this study. Some have larger units, while some are small-scale producers, and the majority employ fewer than five workers. The farms chosen are spatially delimited to rural areas and farmsteads, but not to geographical positions close to or far from urban areas or the political and economic centre of Sweden. This variation means that cosmopolitanism may take many forms. Because of varying preconditions among the farmers interviewed, cosmopolitanism emerges as a strategy in a multitude of sectors and perceived ideas about farming practices. Since the farms in this study exhibit variation and the sample is relatively small, we make no claims to argue for certain relationships among, for example, farm size, geographical location and cosmopolitan expressions. We can discern different strategies, but we do not regard them as connected with specific farming orientations. This choice of seeking cosmopolitanism in multiple farming contexts helps to reveal many aspects of rural cosmopolitanism, while simultaneously making it harder to further discuss whether diverse farming experiences and contexts correlate with different aspects in cosmopolitan ideas and practices. Our analysis, evolving from an explorative approach, involved continuous alternation between the literature and interview transcripts. We used previous literature on farmers' commitments to internationalisation, as well as literature on cosmopolitanism, to interpret the farmers' statements. These, in turn, prompted us to investigate specific literature on migrant workers, volunteers and cosmopolitanism. We systematically sought to explain the meaning of the statements by using them to obtain understanding of the mechanisms that generate cosmopolitanism. Table 1 presents the interviewees. For the sake of confidentiality and in the absence of a comparative approach, their region of activity is excluded and their names are fictitious. Comments on volunteers and trainees are made only if they came from outside Sweden. Table 1. Overview of farmers interviewed. Name Orientation Workforce Anders Cereals, rapeseed, forestry 10 employees, including some from other countries Bengt Vegetables, flowers 2–5 employees, seasonal unaccompanied refugee minors Erik Cereals 1 employee, sometimes from another country over the years Fredrik and Elin Sheep, sheepskin products 1 employee, 2–4 seasonal workers from other countries Jakob Milk cows 2 employees, trainees Karin Sheep Trainees over the years Lennart Milk cows, cereals, vegetables 3 year-round employees, extra seasonal workers including some from other countries, trainees, volunteers Mattias Fruits 12–13 employees, 18 seasonal workers including some from other countries Paul and Kristina Milk cows, cereals 2–3 employees, including some from other countries over the past few years Peter Pigs, charcuterie 1–2 volunteers Sara Vegetables 2–4 volunteers Stellan Meat cows, potatoes, forestry & sawmill 2 seasonal employees from other countries Tomas Milk cows, rapeseed oil, mechanical contracting 8 employees, including some from other countries over the past few years 4. Empirical findings When the farmers in our study interpret their own motivation for farming, strategies for staying in business and daily activities, they express a variety of ideas on how to fit their farm into the global production system, as well as the local environment and social community. Below, we discuss how these ideas and practices can be interpreted in terms of cosmopolitanism. The first theme deals with ideas about openness and sharing. It is about possessing an interest in and curiosity about alternative practices and change in relation to business development. The second is about the perspective on spatial relations, how one's own spot intersects with a greater space and how interdependencies occur. The third category involves relating to other people or hospitality, perceiving how the farm may be a place where relationships grow and mutual trust develops. 4.1. Openness, influences and sharing Peter, a farmer who runs a charcuterie, has built up extensive knowledge. Initially, he attended national courses, established international contacts and learnt from literature that he came across over the years. He left his white-collar job to realise a dream of becoming self-supportive, and has expanded to become an entrepreneur. When he bought his farm, he also contacted a local small-scale pig farmer who could help him to put everything in order, in practical terms, before starting. In learning about a new field from scratch, he found these contacts with other entrepreneurs indispensable. He explains: I actually have some contacts with other butchers all over the world, above all my teacher [−] who is a butcher on a large farm in southern Bavaria. Without these contacts, it would have been impossible for him to find a niche and acquire all the knowledge in his special field. Consequently, many of his products are also inspired by the food cultures of various parts of the world. A sample from his production includes sausages named Münchner, Toulouse sausage and Nürnberger Rostbratwürstel. He writes a blog and has held his own courses in management, as well as taking courses with others, such as his German sausage-making instructor. His story illustrates the importance of sharing knowledge, how it can trigger a new business and how the constant sharing of knowledge is part of this business. Peter has voluntary workers from the WWOOF network at his farm, working for him and thereby also learning his special skills. He teaches them how to cut up the meat and prepare it for different products, such as dried ham, liver paste and sausages. To our question of whether he actually always shares his knowledge, he answers: I am a bit conflicted. My fundamental attitude is that it should be shared with as many people as possible, because more charcuteries are needed. / … / There are some few, two or three, tricks that I don't tell anyone about. But on the other hand I show them to the volunteers. / … / Then it strikes me that it’s great that I'm part of spreading this knowledge from here, so it may pop up in other countries. Thus, to stand out from other producers, it is important to keep some particular knowledge to yourself. Several farmers use study visits, courses, blogs etc. as ways of expanding their knowledge of their own sector. Another farmer couple, Fredrik and Elin, talk about an upcoming event when a fur and leather specialist from Scotland is to arrive in the village and give a workshop and a seminar. This means that the network of fur-producing farmers will all gain from this visit. Although operating on the same market, the local fur producers work together in order to expand. The openness to new influences that is identified — a will to engage with other farmers within and outside the country — also involves reflection about the farmers' own orientation and position in the global farming system. Mobility is a prerequisite for many of these practices involving openness and sharing (cf. Beckie et al., 2012). Lennart comments on his continuous hosting of German trainees. These visits involve two-way sharing of knowledge, and inspiration for improvements is fostered by the farmer's close knowledge of German and other societies. He met his German wife when she arrived at his farm as a trainee, and they have continued to welcome trainees but also derive inspiration from Germany in other ways: It's easy to grasp new ideas from Europe and Germany when you know the language: you can speak to the people who arrive, read German papers, go on a study visit. / … / My wife is from Germany and we go there at least once a year. Without the inspiration from Germany we wouldn't have built the new henhouse. An open mind is thus also accompanied by cross-cultural knowledge and influences travel in several directions. Sometimes workers from other countries have brought skills to the farm (Lans, 2016). At other times, workers gain skills while working at the farm — skills they will take back with them to their home or other locations. The presence of volunteers, except in terms of creating actual networks, also generates a sense of outward connection (Ince, 2015, 832). Openness and handling of cross-cultural situations are integrated with travelling (Chesire et al., 2014: 100). Chesire et al. (2014) show how cosmopolitanism is bound up with movements of people across national borders. These examples shed light on the farm as a place where knowledge is shared and where people with different backgrounds and skills meet. The conclusion, then, is that for farmers, mobility is part of cosmopolitanism but does not necessarily have to be one's own. 4.2. Interdependence: policy, environment and sustainable production The above argument concerning farmers or their networks' mobility can be further developed if reasons for restricted travel are identified. A holistic view of the environment – part of a cosmopolitan attitude – may, for example, mean that farmers' own travel is restricted. Fredrik and Elin explain that they avoid travelling for such reasons. They consciously choose to go on holiday in their immediate surroundings, for environmental reasons combined with a sense of feeling at home where they live. On the other hand, inviting a fur specialist from Scotland involves mobility of the specialist travelling to Gotland and local mobility when farmers gather to learn. This strengthens the argument that cosmopolitanism among farmers does not necessarily involve farmers' own mobility – and that immobility may be another practice that parallels mobility in the complex system of activities and approaches that shape cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitan behaviour includes acting with a purpose beyond personal goals and a focus on more than oneself. In the interviews, such reasoning infuses farmers' discussions about how their own farms are connected with the European and global food industry, and about the environmental implications of agroindustry. Swedish food production should thus be viewed not as an isolated business but, rather, in terms of how it takes shape and affects business in a global perspective. The reasoning contains a mix of defending Swedish production and questioning policy that includes no holistic perspective. As Bengt puts it: Environmental issues have been a driving force, and production. / … / As an elected representative in the Federation of Swedish Farmers, I see how we're balancing these issues. And sometimes environmental aspects are too strongly emphasised. Because what is happening is that production is moving somewhere else. And we think we've solved it / … / because the problem is in another country. Transport services are increasing and employment figures are falling. Bengt is convinced that keeping his business active is a way of taking responsibility for global issues elsewhere. The perceived gap between different policy goals gives rise to ambivalence, since interest in environmental issues collides with the need to act as a competitive entrepreneur. One of the organic farmers talks about his perceived vulnerability as a vegetable producer. A full stockroom is encouraging while, at the same time, feelings of anxiety arise: For some time I suffered a lot when thinking about what will happen when such a lot of vegetables are imported, from Spain and the Netherlands … I've felt so frustrated walking in my fields, looking at all the fantastic vegetables, top quality. Why is no one calling me to buy them?’ For him, the solution is to develop his own market, one advantage being that he finds this local or regional networking enjoyable. This reasoning illustrates the reasoning of Johansen (2014: 11), affiliations and connections can be chosen or not chosen, but they do implicate spatial expressions. The interviewees also discuss political issues in relation to cooperation. Farmers in different national contexts are not only competitors, striving for market share. They also depend on one other to reach common goals. Karin is involved in farmer organisations on many levels, and regards international networks as a means of sharing responsibility for lobbying politicians and influencing future opportunities. Swedish farmers have to be open because we are so few, she states, and must cooperate with Irish or French farmers who are more numerous: We have a common farmer organisation to which Sweden belongs, like many other countries. We have so much in common because much is based on EU instructions, as we're part of the EU. It means that many rules are set in Brussels. / … / It also makes it possible to achieve better conditions in Sweden thanks to cooperating with the other European countries. / … / Many times we're not satisfied with our Swedish politicians. Then it's important to make the most of your colleagues around Europe. Together, they can affect policy; alone, Sweden's influence is limited. In this respect, being interested in networking is also a way of regarding farming as an activity that needs to be performed on several geographical levels. Most everyday farming takes place on the land, but parts of it must be performed at international levels. Farmers have a common interest in and a shared responsibility for creating favourable circumstances for farming, regardless of where it is carried out. While networking is a tool for reaching common goals, the policies implemented may still be viewed as a source of uncertainty: We don't develop our production to harmonise with EU support — that would be really dangerous. / … / I see it [the support structure] as something really episodic or transient; that goes for all kinds of support. Ideas about sustainable development may also involve being attracted to certain customer segments. Sara grows vegetables in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) system, in which customers subscribe for vegetables for a year in advance, thereby enabling the farmers to know how much they can expect to sell. It is a way of reducing the food surplus. She got the idea of this form of production from members of her family network living in the US. Many of the customers, or ‘members’ in her own terminology, have moved to Sweden permanently or temporarily (as guest researchers, for example). She explains that, in this segment, the customers probably appreciate the fact that one of the producers is a native English speaker, but also that their mode of production appeals to what they perceive as a group of people with special values. These values are related to ideas about sustainable, low-waste agricultural production. The view of one's own farm as influencing Swedish agriculture may be expressed in a will to engage in preservation of traditional crops. Lennart reflects upon the role his business plays in the Swedish agricultural system. The farm is organic and vegetable-oriented. He believes in holistic national agriculture that reflects certain growing traditions. Thus, he looks back while also reflecting on contemporary and future generations by stressing the importance of maintaining variety. To make this financially viable, he has developed certain business strategies. The idea of making a wider contribution is thus visible in practice: … and they say either quit or cultivate the stuff that brings you a profit / … / but to me it's not just about profit. Keeping a variety of vegetable production in Sweden is a cultural task. / … / I need to find my own way, which is restaurants and private customers buying seasonal packages and weekly packages. Agriculture is a business that is continuously debated in relation to imports and exports, placing political and economic interdependence in the limelight. For Erik, global food production systems are not only a precondition but also, in certain circumstances, something desirable: This local produce that we have a passion for in Sweden / … / means locking out others. When it comes to dairy products, open markets where farmers can cooperate across national borders are what Erik advocates. Through the extensive international dairy cooperation he is involved in, farmers in other countries are his partners. Their exchange of knowledge could be more extensive, to his mind, but he still perceives them all as belonging to the same market. He sees meat, on the other hand, as a product that is best produced in Sweden. Swedish meat production consumes less antibiotics, and protecting domestic meat production also means protecting the environment and animals, and tackling health problems, on a global scale. Erik expresses ‘plural loyalties’ (Johansen, 2014), location and attachment to place is important while at the same time having several affiliations in space is possible. Interdependence means that farmers all over the world are part of the same global food system and are affected by the development of agroindustry, nearby and far away. In this discussion, the farmers express a pronounced view of their own contribution to local and global development, as well as their dependence on politics and its outcomes worldwide. The Swedish farmers in this study tell stories that confirm the importance of having mobility embedded in their entrepreneurship. This adds to earlier findings, confirming farmers as mobile cosmopolites (Chesire et al., 2014). In addition, by applying the concept of ‘cosmopolitanism’ we can scrutinise the meaning of mobility, offering a nuanced understanding that also involves reluctance to embrace mobility in practice. As mentioned earlier, we find that several farmers refer to environmental concerns that extend beyond the local. They choose not to travel, since the environmental impact would be too heavy if they chose to leave their home location. Similarly, the concept contributes to an understanding and explanation of local and global engagement. We find farmers who are inspired by international networks to use new production forms and new crops to develop and become sustainable, but also farmers who choose traditional crops for the same reason. They all take an interest in local conditions, as well as global sustainability, but how best to achieve it is an open question and the farmers' interests result in diverse practices. In line with Cheshire and Woods (2013), we see these farmers as ‘agents of globalisation’. Their agency may take the form of travelling and networking, or of their reflections and actions in relation to interdependencies within the farming system. 4.3. Hospitality and non-business networks The farm may be viewed as a meeting place for individuals with diverse backgrounds and intentions. The farmers in this study refer to workers or trainees from different countries, voluntary workers belonging to international networks and consumers visiting their farms. While labour requirements are one reason for this, another is an interest in people with differing experience and appreciation of the added value that expanding networks and knowledge may represent. Hospitality, expressed as an interest in other people and places, is a core ingredient in cosmopolitanism (Popke, 2007). We discuss hospitality by focusing upon the farm as a place where professional and employer–employee relationships are accompanied by dimensions involving learning and as the capacity to be supportive in other people's lives. Volunteers and trainees who apply to visit are regarded as valuable if they express a genuine interest in learning, adapting and working; they then constitute a resource, rather than being tourists working in return for their accommodation, as emphasised by Deville et al. (2016). But farmers also speak about widening their horizons by taking an interest in employees as doing more than carrying out everyday work. Those with volunteers sometimes have a joint cooking team for everyone working on the farm. They express delight in the fact that they have the opportunity to learn new dishes. The charcutier Peter had a volunteer from Japan in his house: I am so curious about Japan, and it was the first time I had a Japanese who cooked food in the house. The farmer who regularly welcomes German students to the farm also describes how this enables them to learn more about the world, and that it is a mutual give-and-take. Again, personal travel is implicitly taken into account when the interviewees reflect on the world coming to them, rather than vice versa (see also Ince, 2015): You get so much back. You meet people from other places and may have experience from there. Although it means we don't have that much time for our own holidays — in the summer we don't really have any at all. Employees from abroad fill an important role, since many Swedish farmers find it difficult to find suitable workers. Many of the farmers interviewed make a point of stating that they pay salaries according to collective agreements on the labour market, and say they are particular about following the law on working hours. The farmers also give voice to a sense of social involvement: employing workers from other countries is also about having a genuine interest in other people's life circumstances. The labour force gives a great deal to the business, but new recruits also require a great deal of supervision and several of the interviewees show interest in human relationships. When language barriers exist and some of the employees also lack previous experience of farm work, organising daily activities is resource-intensive. Having young people on the farm as volunteers or trainees, for example, means not only that the farmer has to teach them about farming but also that, as an adult, (s)he may be an important person for them. These young people may be in need of guidance in forming their adult identity and learning to interact socially, and farmers also describe their guiding role in relation to certain values. The farmer Lennart, with long experience of having trainees, explains: It's very much about introductions and doing a lot of socialising. And then in the evenings things happen and you have to be an educator or therapist, talk to them and help them with private matters as well. Hospitality can also be expressed in terms of social responsibilities following the employment of individuals with certain needs. Wage-subsidised jobs are frequent, which also shows that farming is understood as a business with a social dimension. For Erik, employing a man with special needs was not a conscious choice, but more of a matter of chance. A friend of his who had decided to close down his farm had a male employee who, Erik expected, would have had problems in finding a job on the open labour market: All other alternatives were worse than being with me. It was actually about social responsibility. Initially Erik had no intention of developing a social enterprise. But in the situation that had arisen he thought it was the right thing to do, and there seemed no good reason for not being supportive towards the individual concerned. It is important to state that not all farmers reason like this; rather, some say it may be problematic, with the risk of it involving time-consuming supervision. Among those who have volunteers on their farms are small-scale producers who may be in a more difficult economic situation. Volunteers from organisations like WWOOF then make it possible to keep the business going, despite financial limitations. For Peter, the charcutier, the business has not yet allowed anyone to be employed. He describes himself as uninterested in being an employer — a role with responsibility that frightens him somewhat. The volunteers have, above all, given him the time to devote his attention to necessary tasks in his charcuterie business: I realised I was overloaded with work and thought that if I could get someone who, first of all, could take care of feeding the pigs twice a day and look after the pigs, then I wouldn't have to run to the charcuterie and change clothes and so forth. Peter regularly has one or two volunteers on his farm. Their work has been decisive for establishing his business and keeping it running, but it has also meant opening up his home. The voluntary workers live in his house, sharing everyday social life by, for example, organising cooking teams and also affecting the physical environment by sharing the space. The relationship includes a physical proximity that those involved have to deal with. This means that acting as a host should also be understood literally. Your kitchen and meals are shared with others and people live in houses on the farm, or even in your own home. A good host must therefore be able to share physical space with others and make the environment good not only for working but also for living in. It includes drawing up guidelines for appropriate behaviour and making rules for social interaction, but it is also about making others feel welcome in your home environment. Many of the relationships between farmers, on the one hand, and employees, volunteers or trainees on the other continue after the employer–employee relationship ends. Employees and also some volunteers and trainees sometimes return to the farm. Even if they do not, they are occasionally in touch with one another. Farmers express curiosity and sometimes concern about conditions in migrant workers' home countries. Erik explains that he has suggested going to visit one of his former employees in his home country, as a friend: I intended to go there, but it didn't work out. He has stopped it, because he doesn't want me there. I think he's a bit ashamed. / … / But I'll probably go there anyhow. The previous worker did not want him to visit. His answers on Facebook have been meagre and the interpretation is that he is probably ashamed of the circumstances he is living under at home, Erik explains. The employer–employee situation thus implies hierarchic distinctions, or a structural disempowerment (Rye and Andrzejewska, 2010), that may differ in degree depending on whether you are ‘at work’ or in a more personal space. Engaging voluntary workers may create networks that are of importance to the farmer, especially one who is new to the business (Mostafanezhad et al., 2015: 128). Migrant workers also add to these networks, since the relationship sometimes develops into friendship alongside the commercial relationship. This is expressed in social media contacts, ambitions to visit the workers in their home countries, and workers' annual return involving the bringing of families — spouses, children and/or parents. The relationships take their point of departure in an assumed mutual interest in farming activities, and develop in connection with ideas about openness and hospitality. In addition, they also contain hierarchic aspects. These findings tally with those of Ince (2015), who states that hosts and volunteers ‘desired an encounter with difference’, while a common approach is a prerequisite for a fruitful relationship. Here, this is expressed in terms of mutual learning, adaptation and working for the best of the farm. Besides acknowledging structural disempowerment (Rye and Andrzejewska, 2010) as part of the employer–employee relationship, it is important to add expressions of hospitality to enhance understanding of farm work and the farm as a translocal unit. 5. Conclusion Farmers, like other rural inhabitants, have not been the first to be included as cosmopolitans representing global connections and empowerment in relation to their business and lifestyle. Recent studies have focused on farmers as transnational actors, and travel may be an important part of their entrepreneurial life and business internationalisation (Cheshire and Woods, 2013; Chesire et al., 2014). Following Johansen (2014) call to investigate ‘where and how’ cosmopolitanism is located and expressed, we have investigated Swedish farmers and scrutinised the way cosmopolitanism can be present in the local and the everyday, and how several scales intersect on the farm. Among the Swedish farmers interviewed in our case study, we have found a pronounced interest in improving the business, with an openness to ideas and practices that involve their own or others' mobility. In addition, our analysis shows that these practices reflect ideas and values related to openness, solidarity and holistic thinking. We therefore argue that we have identified cosmopolitan ideas and practices among Swedish farmers, and that this cosmopolitanism includes more than travel, translocal activities and adaptation to global processes: it also includes a commitment to rural places and their inhabitants. In our interpretation, in line with the findings of Cheshire and Woods, 2013, farmers are becoming global actors and sometimes also travellers and the farmers' choices reflect emotional attachments as well as rational economic decision-making. Mobility practices develop in response to a specific business climate where producers are exposed to global industrialisation processes (Cheshire and Woods, 2013). Our contribution to this reasoning lies in the pronounced local attachments and their interplay with translocal ideas and networks. Farmers aim to achieve ‘cross-cultural mastery’ in their relations with intermediators and customers on the international market (Chesire et al., 2014: 100), but they also do so in their immediate neighbourhood, during their work on and off the farm. In line with Johansen (2014), we argue that ‘territorialised cosmopolitanism’ is a concept that takes into account the articulation of cosmopolitanism in place. However, we stress that there is also, embedded in this articulation, an anxiety related to the future of the rural. This anxiety is expressed in reasoning about interdependencies and spatial relations affecting opportunities for farm survival and the environment in a local and a global perspective. Farmers contemplate their dependence on market prices and global policies, which thus puts them in a subaltern position. In parallel, increased mobility among farm workers makes farmers employers and hosts, and farmers may be viewed as an elite that sees the scope for hiring affordable labour. Territorialised cosmopolitanism among Swedish farmers thus does not categorise them in either the elite nor the subaltern position; rather, it illustrates their oscillating status. This study thus contributes to an enhanced understanding of the ambiguous nature of categories dividing individuals into, for example, the privileged or the marginalised, and takes into consideration the many points of overlap between seemingly elite and subaltern subjects (Johansen 2014: 3). We argue that farmers exhibit cosmopolitanism but, in doing so, speak from a specific spatial position, with their ideas and practices relating to specific locations. Cosmopolitanism is thus not free from spatial connections, while references to mobility are numerous. Someone has to be mobile, but it does not always have to be the farmer. Mobility might be a means to an end, but cosmopolitanism as a way of thinking and acting is embedded in everyday work and strategies on the farm to a higher degree. The three themes discussed in this article contain global and local dimensions. Openness and sharing include practices of sharing knowledge, locally and globally. Openness and a will to engage with other colleagues are essential in developing farming strategies. Interdependency covers reasoning about how different localities and systems interact. It takes the form of farmers expressing their environmental commitments with reference to place: reluctance to travel and reflections on their own animal husbandry and contributions to animal welfare. Hospitality is discussed here in relation to opening the farm to volunteers, migrant workers and/or individuals with specific needs. While none of the informants could be categorised as ‘social farmers’, they nevertheless have ambitions to support and be part of individual recovery and development. Central ingredients in cosmopolitanism — the holistic perspective, hospitality and openness towards other people and environments — have traditionally been seen as positive and to be encouraged. Accordingly, strengthening the factors that enhance cosmopolitan thinking seems to be an appropriate political goal if mutual understanding, cooperation and cohesion are to be counted among them. 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