Farming as a Focal Practice

Paul B. Thompson

in The Agrarian Vision

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780813125879
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135557 | DOI:
Farming as a Focal Practice

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A focal practice is generally the resolute and singular dedication to a focal thing. Focal things and focal practices encompass a broad array of objects and activities that give meaning to people's lives. Citizens of socialist and capitalist societies alike feel trapped in an order of life dictated by the terms of technological production, distribution, and consumption. Focal things and focal practices may be inefficient means for producing a simple thing such as home heating, but they have a hidden value in the way their pursuit creates meaning and substance as a by-product. The hearth is thus what Borgmann calls a focal thing, and the heat it produces is but one of many products yielded by the material practices of tending the hearth.

Keywords: focal practice; socialist; consumption; hearth; focal thing

Chapter.  10040 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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