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Great diary entry...

I would just point out how Henri Lefebvre would talk about the city-country dynamic.

I think he would say that until the nineteenth century, even the city was situated in a rural mindset.  City-dwellers knew the countryside was never far away and they realized that their urban energy was an accumulation of countryside production.

Modernity, however, has changed that.  In most of the developed world--and, importantly, in the "developing" world--"country folk" do not see themselves as primarily rural, but, rather, as producers for the city, for the market.  Lefebvre's point being that, while the city-rurual dynamic is in place in terms of physical space, the way humans think of themselves (no matter where they live) is completely urban.

Urban dwellers interested in sustainability now find themselves in the ironic position of having to convince rural folk to grow organic, skip petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides, and "get in touch with the land."  This is not because farmers don't understand these concepts, but market forces have selected farmers over the last 150 years that embrace modernization and the "green revolution" (not green at all).  To compete with agribusiness and embrace seemingly rural values, farmers have had to adopt attitudes and self-defeating practices of fertilization associated with the urban in its worst forms.  So now enlightened urban dwellers realize they have to change their markets in order to influence those who see themselves as the producers for it.

(this is not to say that farmers were not producers for the city from the very beginning, simply that it was only certain farmers limited to nearby regions.  Transport has changed all that, and, more fundamentally, it has changed thier attitudes...)

Again, great work.

by andrethegiant on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 10:00:14 AM EST
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