Unrecognised Cosmopolitans: Mobility and Openness among Globally Engaged Family Farmers
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ABSTRACT In contemporary cosmopolitanism research, cities are iconic places where cosmopolitan exchanges and actors find their 'natural' milieu. Farmers not only are remarkably absent from this literature but have been depicted as operating with a highly localist and agrarian world view and being strongly connected to the land and the farm through history, biography and family tradition. In this paper, we present findings from a three-year study of entrepreneurial family farmers who are globally engaged and undertake extensive mobility as part of their farm business practices. The paper shows how they readily display some of the key hallmarks of contemporary cosmopolitanism: they are highly mobile and frequently engage in the routineness of international travel; they understand the strategic significance of cultural sensitivities and competencies; and they gain pleasure from engaging with difference. Yet, we suggest that these expressions of cosmopolitanism are also contradictory and, at times, may be understood as either 'instrumental', 'banal' or 'engaged'. The paper illustrates how ordinary and everyday cosmopolitan repertoires and sentiments can arise outside the usual settings and among actors not readily acknowledged in the cosmopolitanism literature.