- "Doing" reflexive modernization in pig husbandry: the hard work of changing the course of a river
- Science, Technology, & Human Values
- Volume | Issue number
- 33 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The Dutch animal production sector faces significant pressure for change. We discuss a project for the design of a sustainable husbandry system for pigs. Named after the Greek hero Hercules, the project aimed for structural changes in both animal and crop production. However, instead of changing the course of the river, the project ended up merely adapting its flow. The Hercules project ran into difficulties typical for projects aiming at reflexive modernization. It relapsed from an effort for reflexive modernization to ecological modernization, by ultimately leaving the structural features of the sociotechnical regime intact. We show how this resulted from the biases and limitations implied by existing institutions, in which the project was unavoidably embedded. We introduce the idea of reflexive design, as "doing" reflexive modernization, which implies working on action and structure at the same time. A number of recommendations are given for reflexive design projects like this.
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