'A load of bloody idiots' Somerset dairy farmers' view of their political world.
Political Geography Quarterly, 10(4) pp. 405–421.
This paper offers an interpretation of dairy farmers' view of their political relations which is set against the background of Offe's theory of the state. Offe sees the state as facing a series of crises which are the result of the internal contradictions of ‘late’ capitalist systems. The state must simultaneously maintain both the accumulation process and the legitimacy of its actions. But the legitimacy of the state's actions can only be assessed in terms of people's understanding of those actions. Using dairy farmers' own interpretations, I show that the right of the state to impose policy measures is not challenged, even while farmers criticize those measures and their sources. I argue that the internationalization of policy-making for European agriculture has enhanced the legitimacy of the UK state, while making farmers feel powerless to intervene. State functions rely, not so much on their appearance of being fair and just, as on their ability to resonate with nationalistic sentiments, redirect potential conflicts into safe sites and instil feelings of powerlessness and inevitability.
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