Gendered, embodied knowledge within a Welsh agricultural context and the importance of listening to farmers in the rewilding debate

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Abstract

This paper uses key ideas developed from practice-led research to explore the division between the land management approaches of rewilding and the embodied and gendered knowledge and practices of upland sheep farmers in an area of Wales known as the Cambrian Mountains. Such knowledge, I argue, is developed through a haptic, temporal, hybrid and complex engagement with the land and environment of the farm and this, in turn, defines the nature of farming identities. In contrast, rewilding, as discussed in the paper's exploration of Rewilding Britain's 10,000-hectare rewilding project in the Cambrian Mountains in 2018, is perceived as a challenge to these practices; a threat not only to farm livelihoods, but also to the hybrid construction of masculine identities. Due to the embedded nature of my relationship with the subject material of my art work and research, Donna Haraway's term "situated knowledge" is used to address how my art practice and research is always situated, partial, incomplete, hybrid and defined by my gendered subjectivity within the patriarchal world of my farming community. This article argues that part of the failure of Rewilding Britain to establish their project within the Cambrian Mountain area relates to an underappreciation of the importance of situated knowledge, and that within the context of the polarising ideas of rewilding, sensitivity, and the need to listen to embodied, situated, agricultural knowledge and practice, should be taken seriously.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalArea
Early online date28 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Wales
  • embodied knowledge
  • farming
  • film and theatre
  • gender
  • rewilding

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