Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sociologists of Minnesota Conference

I sent this email today to the conference coordinator of the Sociologists of Minnesota.

I am interested in participating in the October conference but am a bit at a loss on how I might fit in.

I am a sociologist who teaches at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Over the last two years I've taken an interest, professionally, personally and politically, in the environmental issues surrounding the "disappearance" of honey bees. I think, as social ecologists might argue, this environmental issue has its roots in deep seated social problems, rather than simply just being a technical/scientific issue with a technical/scientific solution. The application of "Tayloristic" management practices to apiculture, the "grow or die" economic model of global capitalism, agribusiness practices like monoculture of crops, and aspects of global trade are all factors that interact and impact the survival of the honey bee.

These concerns have affected my sociological practice in two ways. In my interdisciplinary global issues course, the sociological story of the honey bees plight is used to illustrated the larger global forces that impact my students' daily lives in their own local environment. On the activist side, I have become involved in a global movement of sustainable beekeepers who not only "handle" their bees in a "greener" way but actively protest against those social forces and practices threatening the bees survival. (see http://biobees.com/ ) To be honest, I've only started this whole project but I'd like feedback and wonder if this might fit into the conference somewhere?

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