10th Tensions of Europe Conference: Technology, Environment and Resources, 29 June – 1 July, 2022, Aarhus University, Denmark

Entangling Minerals, Chemicals and Water in Greek agriculture of the 20th century

Alexakis Sotiris and Arapostathis Stathis
The paper’s aim is to provide a historical reconstruction of the entangled history of agrochemicals, raw materials drawn from extraction activities and water management in the Greek agrifood industry since 1920 and until 2000. We argue that the visions of industrialized agriculture that was shaped by the activities of state and private actors reproduced through the entangled relation of lignite extraction, the intensification of nitrogen fertilizers and the promotion of large-scale water management infrastructures. We unravel the visions and technological promises relevant to the industrial agriculture and the intensified use of agrochemicals and its linkage to developmental policies based on economies of scales. We show the importance of flows of raw materials, mostly of lignite and at a lesser extent of pyrite, for the local industrial interests since the interwar period. Furthermore, we unfold the linkage of the intensive use of agrochemicals that was part and parcel of the emergence of the model of industrial agriculture, with the development of large-scale dams and irrigation channels in the Greek provinces. The paper is a tale of three entangled sociotechnical regimes that involve agriculture politics and policies, politics of natural commons and politics of scale in technological infrastructures. Our emphasis is on the history of entangled sociotechnical regimes thus we unravel the interrelation between regimes as well as the materialities that configure the interrelations define sociotechnical transformations and the environment
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