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


New publication: Transforming labour around food? the experience of community supported agriculture in Italy

Rossi, A., Piccoli, A., Feola, G. (in press). Transforming labour around food? the experience of community supported agriculture in Italy Agriculture and Human Values.


This study examines the strategies developed by Italian Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiatives to de-commodify, de-instrumentalise and de-monetise labour in their attempt to prefigure alternatives to dominant capitalist agri-food systems. To do so we answer the following research questions: What type of strategies do these CSA initiatives employ to that end? What insights can be gained as regards the potential and barriers to fuller and more accomplished post-capitalist labour management within CSA initiatives? Data were collected through a participatory action research project involving 16 Italian CSAs, participant observation in meetings of CSA initiatives and the Italian CSA Network, and official documents collection. Across the three crucial moments considered in this study, we observe substantial difficulties in realising post-capitalist labour management as the initiatives are constrained by external requirements (e.g., legislation) and also internally by members’ weakness in implementing the CSA model due to their remaining integrated in the capitalist system. These findings point to the importance for CSA initiatives of deepening the collective process of deliberate deconstruction of valuation logics and predefined roles, as well as legal frameworks to find ways to enable the realisation of post-capitalist labour management. In this regard, we also suggest that the Italian CSA Network could play a more active role in addressing some of the internal and external factors hindering the consolidation of CSA initiatives and the manifestation of their transformative role.