Habit and territory in the (non‐)spread of organic farming in Sri Lanka
Paper i proceeding, 2011
The notion of innovation diffusion has been widely discussed within sociology and geography. An early theorist of this process was Gabriel Tarde; the French sociologist who would later become a key influence on Gilles Deleuze. (Alliez, 2009) Within the innovation diffusion literature, Tarde’s ideas have often been described in a somewhat simplistic fashion. However, as Thrift (2009: 85) notes, ”Tarde was no mere diffusionist.” Indeed, his ideas of the spread of innovation was married to a complex theory about subjectivty, in which the notion of habit plays a crucial part. Again, this notion would later inform Deleuze’s work.
This paper is based on an ethnographic study of farmer practices in a rural area in Sri Lanka. Using this material, it will discuss the (non-)spread of organic farming, using the concepts of ”habit” and ”territory”. This territorological analysis (Brighenti, 2010) will point to the ways in which action is enmeshed in the naturecultural rhythms and harmonies that that Deleuze and Guattari (1988) discuss in the plateau ”on the refrain”. As a comment on previous work on this field, the paper will argue that ”tonality” – not ”rationality” – is key to the understanding of diffusion.