Problem-constitution in agricultural policy-making: the case of preventive soil protection

PhD Project

Katharina undertakes her PhD project as a research associate in the project SoilAssist with the Coordination Unit Climate, Soil Biodiversity at Thünen Institute. The project is concerned with the constitution of soil health as a policy problem in Germany and the EU.

As agricultural soils provide a long list of social, economic and environmental functions to society, political decision-makers in Germany and the EU discuss soil health as a policy-problem. These debates are an expression of the complex interplay of diverse socio-economic and ecological factors.

In a cumulative dissertation, Katharina therefore inquires which political, scientific and practiced understandings of soil health are discussed in the process of constituting soil health as a policy problem. She draws on the example of soil compaction to illustrate issues regarding soil degradation and related preventive protection.

The aims of the research project consist in (1) assessing the role of sciences in the politics of knowledge dynamics within German policy-making, (2) unpacking the institutionalisation of soil health as a discourse in EU policy making and (3) deriving socio-economic factors that determine decision-making in agricultural management.


Header image credit: Maike Weise (TI-AT)