It Is What It Is: Local Resistances and Life-Sustaining Strategies in Western Almeria's Agro-Industrial Plastic Sea

  • Paloma YáÑez Serrano

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis is centred on a group of agricultural workers and farmers in western Almeria's Plastic Sea. It proposes a shift in the conception of sustainability within the agro-industrial cluster that includes workers' experiences of resistance and their lifesustaining strategies maintained across generations through the family farming model. I suggest that the knowledge of 'el modelo familiar' (the local family farming model) is comprised of a set of specific relationships that farmers have with their environment, which differentiate them from other farmers and help them cope with the pressures of price, time and quality control coming from the agriculture industry. Central to my approach is the assertion that sustainability knowledge is enacted in a socio-ecological system that encompasses a non-dualistic individual and their environment - in its human and non-human aspects. I have looked at all these dimensions through a methodology that includes apprenticeship, participant observation and participatory filmmaking, and with the objective of giving voice to local feelings of misrepresentation. The film Esto es lo que hay (It Is What It Is), which accompanies and constitutes part of this thesis, narrates a story of farmers' resistances, providing an overview of the multifaceted knowledge of sustainable living and life-sustaining strategies upheld by some agroecological farmers who were previously part of the intensive agriculture industry.
Date of Award31 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRupert Cox (Supervisor) & Andrew Irving (Supervisor)


  • Multimodal anthropology
  • Collaborative film
  • Family farming
  • Worker's resistances
  • Biological control
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • western Almeri­a
  • Life-Sustaining Strategies
  • Agroecology

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