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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Digitalisation, politics of sustainability and new agrarian questions: The case of dairy farming in rural spaces of Italy and Sweden

Alarcon-Ferrari, Cristian; Corrado, Alessandra; Fama, Marco


The article analyses how and why agricultural digitalisation unfolds in contrasting agricultural sub-sectors and rural spaces in Europe, with a particular focus on dairy farming. The authors explore the differences and similarities underpinning and produced by agricultural digitalisation and how this intersects with meanings of rural development and the politics of sustainability. Building on qualitative research carried out in the regions of Uppsala (Sweden) and Calabria (Italy), the article unveils the contradictory nature of agricultural digitalisation as a process intertwined with the capitalist development of agriculture that raises key political questions. The cases of Uppsala and Calabria, in particular, show that the transformation of dairy farming through automation and digitalisation is uneven and combined, being deeply connected to how politics of sustainability and rural development are embedded-and negotiated-in specific agrarian settings. The authors discuss their empirical findings in terms of new agrarian questions in Europe.


agrarian question; dairy farming; digitalisation; rural development; sustainability

Published in

Sociologia Ruralis
2023, Volume: 63, number: 3, pages: 703-728
Publisher: WILEY