“We Don’t Equal Even Just One Man”: Gender and social control in conservation adoption

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Department of Social Sciences


Women own or co-own approximately half of the farmland in Iowa, United States, yet researchers are only beginning to study these landowners’ social relationships in relation to their land. This study analyzes qualitative data collected in Iowa through a series of meetings hosted by the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN). I find that social control through exclusion constrains women landowners’ access to information about and implementation of conservation. Specifically, I identify how women landowners experience the social processes of boundary maintenance and othering in land management. These processes create barriers to conservation adoption and maintain gendered agricultural landscapes. The women who participated in WFAN’s conservation programs express their experience of and resistance to dominant narratives as they attempt to create landscape change. These findings highlight the importance of further study of inequality processes and their relation to control of farmland if conservation goals are to be met.

Publisher's Statement

© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2019.1584657

Publication Title

Society & Natural Resources