UNMAKING: a research programme on the disruption of capitalism in societal transformation to sustainability


Guilherme Raj presents at SASE 2023 in Rio de Janeiro

Guilherme Raj presented the paper ‘Selective, quiet and representational: lessons from rural queer empowerment in a community-supported agriculture‘ at the 2023 conference of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20-22 July 2023.

Abstract: Rural queer studies call for examinations of how gender and sexual relations organise agri-food systems. These studies have offered critiques of heteropatriarchy in agri-food systems and identified strategies employed by queer farmers to pursue thriving livelihoods in the countryside. Rural queer studies call for further scrutiny of the intersection between agriculture, sexuality and gender in community-supported agriculture (CSA). CSA is an agri-food provisioning scheme that can be viewed as a political space where emancipatory strategies are lived and agri-food agencies are self-defined. This study investigates whether and how queer folks feel empowered to become active and thriving members of CSA. The experiences of 11 queer members of CSA Guadiana in rural Alentejo, South Portugal, serve as a case study. Data is collected through participatory observation, semi-structured interviews and a focus group with the CSA members and analysed through Open Coding, followed by Focused Coding. Results show that queer members found in CSA Guadiana a means to perform their queerness safely and to be actively involved in constructing a local agri-food provisioning model that reflected their values and objectives in rural Alentejo. I draw three lessons from the empowerment stories of queer members of CSA Guadiana, including its contradictions and limitations, that offer new insights into the rural queer literature: queer empowerment in CSA Guadiana was exclusive to a selective rural queer community; producer and co-producer partnership quietly empowered queer members; and queer farmers reinforced queer representation influencing gender and sexual emancipation in and beyond the agri-food system in rural Alentejo.