A Q-Method Analysis of Environmental Governance Discourses in Brazil's Northeastern Soy Frontier
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This article describes and analyzes discourses regarding environmental governance held among key actors in a region of expanding high-input, high-output agriculture. Q-method, an intensive (small n) and quantitative technique in which n tests are measured by m individuals, was used to determine four empirically significant social perspectives: critical environmentalism, agri-environmentalism, private environmentalism, and statist environmentalism. The article highlights major differences and agreements among social perspectives, in addition to the arguments used to justify claims. These findings help fill a knowledge gap in the literature on governance debates between farmers and environmentalists; moreover, the findings contribute to a concern in the literature regarding the role of discourses in producing policy solutions to environmental governance problems. The article also supports continued use of Q-method in human geography, suggesting the value of Q as a research ends and means, particularly when research subjects include landed elites. © 2011 by Association of American Geographers.
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