The practice of farming and responsibility for oneself : what we can learn from Vergil about our modern agrarian problem

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2020
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en
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Abstract
In the United States there has been a steady decrease in the number of people who live on small farms. This is a problem because something is being lost as we continuously move away from small farms. It is hard to convey exactly what it is that is being lost, but this decline shows that we need a new way for thinking about farming. When we view farming as a practice and a way to become responsible for the self, we find a new enthusiasm for the farm. By turning to the work of agrarian thinkers we are able to see that the way that these thinkers think about work is in line with how MacIntyre thinks about practice and Foucault the responsibility for the self. However, it is when we turn to Vergil’s Georgics and Eclogues that we get a clear picture of what is at stake within the modern farm decline. Through Vergil we are able to see the full impact of the practice of farming and articulate what is being lost today as we move away from having a direct relationship to the land.
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