WP 1

Working package 1 examines how marginal market categories develop and how their focal  actors contest negative labeling (stigmatization). This means that we study organic farming and its march from marginal, undervalued farming method towards socially approved and valued farming method.

If we take a look at the current popularity organic farming and organic products in particular are enjoying, it may come as a surprise that in the early 1980s, the organic farming category was marginal and  contested  in Finland and in some other countries as well. Organic farming went against the ethos on efficient and rational farming by incorporating various principles, particularly from biodynamic farming.

Subcultural movements, such as organic farming  do often struggle to gain societal valuation because their behaviour is perceived to deviate from a general norm. We approach stigmatization as an activity that  targets the focal actors and their supporters  by arguing their behaviour is a threat to the existing norms and values. Conversely, stigma removal seeks to convert these negative meanings as valued features. How this is done  and what kinds of struggles over power the process contains is what we study.