“You spend an awful amount of time fighting it and they aren’t really listening…” - political economy of pig farming intensification and environmental justice in Northern Ireland

Gladkova, Ekaterina (2021) “You spend an awful amount of time fighting it and they aren’t really listening…” - political economy of pig farming intensification and environmental justice in Northern Ireland. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral Thesis)
gladkova.ekaterina_phd - 17022145.pdf - Submitted Version

Download (3MB) | Preview


It is indisputable that theoretical and empirical research on food in criminology needs to be developed further. My qualitative green criminological study advances this endeavour by understanding how the process of pig farming intensification in Northern Ireland leads to environmental injustice. The study establishes how power relations that are driving the process of intensification (in the context of the Going for Growth agri-food strategy and beyond) may affect the context of environmental decision-making and ultimately influence both the distribution of environmental harms from farming intensification and the realm of capabilities. To achieve this aim, legislation and policy documents related to farming, planning, environmental regulation have been reviewed, twenty-nine semi-structured interviews with four different participant categories (local residents, government, farming industry, NGO participants and public-spirited citizens) have been conducted, and official statistics related to farming and agriculture and media data have been analysed.

The study reveals the workings of the political economy of neoliberal capitalism in meat production on the international, national, and local levels. It demonstrates how power relations between the corporate farming industry actors and the state operate to secure and perpetuate a growth- and efficiency-driven model of meat production, thus reinforcing the hegemony of the neoliberal capitalist order. Power relations between the farming industry actors and the state also affect the processes of environmental decision-making. My study demonstrates that such processes are marked by recognitional and procedural injustices, rooted in an imbalance of power between those reinforcing the hegemony of the neoliberal capitalist order and those seeking to challenge it. Discussions around power and injustice are closely intertwined with the discussion around harm. I conclude that recognitional and procedural injustices will result in an uneven distribution of environmental harm from new intensive farms, negatively affect the meta-capability of sustainable ecological capacity and compromise other capabilities such as bodily health, play, affiliation, and other species.

The findings reveal the role of power in legitimisation, normalisation, and regulation of harm. My study expands the knowledge of complex relationships between political and economic actors from a green criminological perspective and demonstrates how, within those relationships, power is exercised, maintained, and ultimately directed to preserve the status quo of neoliberal capitalism. The findings also advance the idea that non-minority populations that do not face discrimination can nevertheless face environmental injustice on the grounds of their disenfranchisement in the processes of environmental decision-making. Finally, the findings in my study allow to expand on the insufficiently discussed concept of capabilities in environmental justice and highlight the importance of capabilities-related research in green criminology.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: green criminology, food harms, crimes of the powerful, intensive farming, environmental injustice
Subjects: L100 Economics
L200 Politics
L700 Human and Social Geography
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2021 08:40
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2022 08:01
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46455

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics