Caroline Nye

Department: College of Social Sciences and International Studies
Discipline: Politics
Research Centre/Unit: Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP)

Project Summary

Caroline's research focuses on the ‘blind spot’ of agricultural research; farm labour. It contributes an original analysis of the composition of contemporary farm labour in the South West of England, as well as examining social, attitudinal, and behavioural changes that have arisen from transformations in the agricultural labour situation over the last fifty years. It examines the premise that, whilst traditional workers have declined, self-employed contractors and intermittent farm workers are on the increase within UK agriculture. The casualisation of agricultural labour into a more ‘flexible’ workforce is a largely ignored phenomenon in agricultural research when considered alongside more traditional forms of labour, at the micro level, especially in the case of self-employed contractors.

Both the farmer and the farm worker are given a voice in this study, with the intentions for the ‘people aspects’ of the former and their anticipated staffing needs providing an indicator as to how the composition of labour is likely to develop in the future, and any emergent trends from interviews with and observations of the latter providing an indicator of what this might mean more generally for farm workers, agriculture, the environment, and the rural community. 

Supervisory Team

Professor Michael Winter (Lead Supervisor - University of Exeter) and Professor Matt Lobley (Second Supervisor - University of Exeter)

Wider Research Interests

Agricultural restructuring, cultural heritage, organic agriculture, landscape, connectedness and identity, rewilding.

Authored Publications/Reports

Caroline Nye (20th January 2017) Farming Out The Field Work Won’t Stop Migrant Worker Exploitation Post-Brexit, The Huffington Post

Caroline Nye (25th October 2016) Why ignoring non-seasonal farm workers is a danger to agriculture, The Conversation

Caroline Nye (24th August 2016) Who picked British fruit and veg before migrant workers?, The Conversation

Caroline Nye, Michael Winter & Matt Lobley (28th February 2017) Feeding the Nation: Labour Constraints - Written Evidence, Parliamentary Inquiry - Defra