Tensions in hives: bees between diversity and standardization - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2017

Tensions in hives: bees between diversity and standardization


Beekeeping has rarely been studied by social scientists despite the strategic issues this activity represents on the environment. French beekeeping refers to any diversified situation in terms of bee breeds, beekeeping practices and knowledge or on the status of beekeepers. Three quarters of the honey is produced by a minority of beekeepers identified as “professionals”, while the majority of beekeepers are called “amateurs”. We will aim to describe the tensions between the inherent diversity characterizing beekeeping and the rationalization of this sector through a “National Sustainable Development Plan” implemented in 2013. We’ll address this issue focusing on hives renewal practices. Since the 1990s, rising bee mortality has led beekeepers to renew their hives far more frequently and to diversify their renewal practices: collecting swarms, buying queens, using insemination, etc. This raises questions about bee breeds, genetic diversity and the cognitive and discursive resources. Our research is based on interviews conducted in specific places of France. We question if the diversity of hives renewal practices can refer to the distinction usually made between “professional” and “amateurs”. Our hypothesis is that the reality goes beyond this binary opposition and refers to different relationships with nature and conceptions of beekeeping. Finally, we enquire if such a diversity of practices can take place with the ongoing restructuring of the sector which tends to encourage standardization.
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Dates and versions

hal-02789262 , version 1 (05-06-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02789262 , version 1
  • PRODINRA : 409638


Lucie Dupre, Agnès Fortier, Pierre Alphandéry, Julie Labatut, Dorothée Dussy, et al.. Tensions in hives: bees between diversity and standardization. 13. Conference of the European Sociological Association, European Sociological Association., Aug 2017, Athènes, Greece. ⟨hal-02789262⟩
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