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助成対象詳細(Details)

   

2015 研究助成 Research Grant Program  /  (B)個人研究助成  (B) Individual Research Grants
助成番号
(Grant Number)
D15-R-0129
題目
(Project Title)
労働力の移動、外国人による農場の所有、および世界規模での農業の変化―変わりゆく地方都市における異文化交流の広がりと帰属意識の共有への道筋を見出す―
Labour Migration, Transnational Farm Ownership, and the Transformation of Global Agriculture: Identifying pathways to intercultural connection and shared belonging in changing rural spaces
代表者名
(Representative)
ビクトリア・ステッド
Victoria Stead
代表者所属
(Organization)
ディーキン大学
Deakin University
助成金額
(Grant Amount)
 700,000
企画書・概要 (Abstract of Project Proposal)

農業は世界規模で変化している。その結果、社会に調和が生まれ、異文化交流が盛んになり、人と土地との関係も変わりつつある。
 本プロジェクトでは、オーストラリアの地方都市ミルデューラにおいて、革新的な民族学的手法を用いて幅広い調査を実施し、地方で文化の多様化が進んでいるという事実を周知させるとともに、「土地と場所との結び付きという共通の経験に基づいて帰属意識を共有する」という新たな価値を生み出すための道筋を見出すことをめざす。
 具体的には、アジア太平洋地域との関係とオーストラリアの農業に与える影響が大きい2つの動きに焦点を当てる。1つ目は外国人、特にアジア人投資家による農地の買収によって社会に緊張が生じている例、2つ目は季節労働者として農場で働くために太平洋諸島から労働力が流入している例である。これらの事例を研究することによって、世界全体で起きている変化のプロセスを明らかにするとともに、グローバル化による農業の変容と、それによって社会に生じる緊張と新たな可能性について検証したい。
 本プロジェクトでは、方法論的にも概念的にも全く新しいフレームワークに基づいて、土地と人間のつながりを探る。社会の変化や異文化との出会いは土地を媒介にして起こるのであり、また土地の上にこそ異文化間の相互理解と帰属意識の共有という新しい価値の礎は築かれるのである。

Global agriculture is being transformed, with far-reaching consequences for social harmony, intercultural connection, and relationships between people and land. This project employs an innovative ethnographic methodology—with extended research in the Australian rural centre of Mildura—to generate rich understandings of increasing cultural diversity in rural places, and to identify pathways to creating new values of shared belonging based on shared practices of connection to land and place. It takes as its focus two dynamics affecting the Australian agricultural sector and relationships between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region: firstly, social tensions related to the perceived buy-up of Australian farmland by foreign, particularly Asian investors; and secondly, the temporary migrations of Pacific Islanders to work as farm labourers. These examples provide case-studies that will cast light on broader processes of change around the world. The project will illuminate transformations to agriculture by globalizing forces, and both the social tensions and new possibilities to which these transformations give rise. Using an innovative methodological and conceptual framing, the project will explore human connection to land as a domain through which social change and cross-cultural encounters are experienced, and within which intercultural understandings and the foundations for new values of shared belonging might be built.

実施報告書・概要 (Summary of Final Report)



This project set out to explore the intercultural dimensions of global agriculture, and to examine the possibilities for new values of shared belonging in increasingly diverse rural places. Its focus was the Australian state of Victoria, which has a rich history of migration and an extensive agricultural industry. Specifically, the project has targeted the regional centre of Shepparton and its surrounds, which are key sites of horticultural production, particularly of apples and pears. With an annual value of $9 billion, horticulture is Australia’s third largest agricultural industry, a sector with significant export strength, and an employer of approximately 57,000 people in 2012-13. It is an industry deeply implicated in the livelihoods, histories, and identities of many rural communities.

Over the course of a year, repeated fieldwork visits have yielded rich data in the form of ethnographic fieldnotes, with approximately 25 semi-structured interviews conducted with migrant workers, local workers, farmers, labour hire representatives, local government staff, and staff in non-governmental and service delivery organisations. Interactions and conversations with many other individuals have also taken place. I have spent time labouring in fruit-picking jobs, alongside diverse groups of workers, and have also conducted participant-observation at community events, farmers’ and horticultural industry meetings, and events and activities run by labour hire companies.

Results from the project have highlighted the horticultural sector as a site of great intercultural diversity, and also a site experiencing great challenges in relation to that diversity. Today, the industry faces pressing challenges related to labour and workforce, including shortages of seasonal, ‘low-skilled’ labour—most often performed by migrant workers and non-White resident workers—allegations of mistreatment and underpayment of some workers, and difficulties in the implementation of the Seasonal Worker Program for Pacific Islanders. However shortages of harvest labour also co-exist with persistent and chronic local unemployment. Research reveals that questions of who works (and who doesn’t), who works well (and who doesn’t), and who does what work, are subject to local understandings that are often strongly racialised, and reflective of dissonantly imagined pasts. Oft-heard statements that ‘locals don't want to do that [fruit-picking] work anymore’ reference the industry’s reliance on migrant labour, but also obscure the labour performed by non-White residents who are excluded from the category of ‘locals’.

The overall finding of the research is that there are ways in which diverse groups claim belonging, and through which shared belonging can be nurtured in diverse rural contexts, but there are also powerful and pervasive factors that currently act to inhibit shared belonging and produce exclusion.

Ways in which the structure of global agriculture currently acts to inhibit belonging, include:
- The structure of horticultural labour, and specifically the industry’s requirement for seasonal, highly flexible workforces that can be mobilised on short notice, and dissolved again quickly.
- The use of illegal or undocumented workers, which renders many vulnerable, non-White groups of workers largely invisible.
- A sharp differentiation and stratification between the seasonal/low-skilled workforce and the professional, middle-level horticultural workforce (orchard managers, etc.).
- The failure to acknowledge the contributions to the seasonal horticultural work force of local residents, particularly non-White residents who are frequently excluded from the category of ‘local’.
- Socio-economic factors which diminish workers’ capacity to enact place-making practices and create a sense of belonging to place and people.

Nevertheless, even in difficult and constrained circumstances, people do work and act in ways that build a sense of shared belonging. The research has identified key factors in this, including:
- Shared experiences of labour, and narratives about a farming work ethic, which provide some basis for identification across cultural divides. Such identifications are tenuous however, with narratives about work ethic also fuelling sharply differentiated and often racially hierarchical labour relations within horticulture.
- The role of churches in strengthening belonging for many diverse groups, and (in some instances) fostering intercultural connection.
- Awareness of global connection. In spite of popular depictions of rural places as parochial, rural communities in the Greater Shepparton Region are in fact highly attuned to the global connections and political-economic context shaping contemporary horticulture. This awareness also has the capacity to foster intercultural connection. For example, although racialised and negative discourses do exist in relation to Asian investment in farming, there is also a strong interest amongst many in possible connections between Australian and Asian horticultural markets.

From this it becomes possible to identify transformations that would encourage shared belonging, including:
- Continuing regulatory reform to reduce industry use of informal contractors and illegal labour systems.
- Continuing regulatory reform to strengthen the rights of migrant workers to return in subsequent seasons if they wish to.
- Transforming local narratives and representations to challenge limited constructions of who is and is not considered local’.
- Cultural and creative initiatives oriented to the connections between transnationalism, identity & place-making.

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