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Dr Katharine Legun

Katharine LegunMA (UBC) PhD (UW-Madison)

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Contact details

Room 5C14, Richardson Building
Tel +64 3 479 7666
Email katharine.legun@otago.ac.nz

My main focus is on the relationship between the economy, social organization, and the environment. I’m particularly interested in how people manage the tensions between modern markets and the dynamic spontaneity of environmental life. How are markets arranged to avoid or benefit from biological animacy, and how are the biologies of things affected by economic practices? What tools are introduced to mediate various economic-environment conflicts or create new opportunities? I have two projects currently that explore these themes: I’ve been researching aesthetic trends and technologies in apple production, and I work on a large, interdisciplinary project called the New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard (http://www.nzdashboard.org.nz). I also do work on food politics, natural resources and inequality, science and technology, and contemporary social theory.

Teaching

I teach sections of:
ENVI 111: Environment and Society
SOCI 202: Sociological Theory

I coordinate and teach:
SOCI 208: Environmental Sociology
SOCI 302: Theories of Social Power

Postgraduate supervision

  • Agriculture
  • Commodities
  • Natural resources
  • Economic markets
  • Science and technology
  • The role of living things in economic life

Current and recent students

Katharine Cresswell Riol (PhD)

The right to food (see full profile)

Rudi Kresna (PhD)

Sustainability and dairy cooperatives in Indonesia

Abbi Virens (MA)

Food foraging in Dunedin

Erika Szymanski (PhD, co-supervisor, completed)

Making 'not the deficit model' specific: Designing texts to invite industry knowledge in wine science
Erika is now a Research Fellow working on synthetic biology at the University of Edinburgh (see full profile)

Karly Burch (PhD, co-supervisor, current)

Food and radiation in Fukushima Japan (see full profile)

Elizabeth Simmons (MA, co-supervisor, current)

Local embeddedness and sustainability programs

Madeline Hall (MA, co-supervisor, completed)

From producers to polluters to…: Farmers participation in the Lake Taupo Water Quality Trading program

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Publications

Legun, K., & Sautier, M. (2018). Sustainability programs and deliberative processes: Assembling sustainable winegrowing in New Zealand. Agriculture & Human Values. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10460-018-9879-z

Legun, K. (2017). Desires, sorted: Massive modern packing lines in an era of affective food markets. Journal of Rural Studies, 52, 110-117. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.02.016

Legun, K., & Bell, M. M. (2016). The second middle: Conducers and the agrifood economy. Journal of Rural Studies, 48, 104-114. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.10.004

Legun, K. (2015). Tiny trees for trendy produce: Dwarfing technologies as assemblage actors in orchard economies. Geoforum, 65, 314-322. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.03.009

Legun, K. A. (2015). Club apples: A biology of markets built on the social life of variety. Economy & Society, 44(2), 293-315. doi: 10.1080/03085147.2015.1013743

Other Research Output

Legun, K. (2017, June). Taste and post-commodity productions: A discussion of wild botany and political food. Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. [Research Seminar].

Legun, K. (2017, June). Plants, power, and social change for sustainable food futures. Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. [Public Lecture].

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Chapter in Book - Research

Burch, K., Legun, K., & Campbell, H. (2018). Not defined by the numbers: Distinction, dissent and democratic possibilities in debating the data. In J. Forney, C. Rosin & H. Campbell (Eds.), Agri-environmental governance as an assemblage: Multiplicity, power, and transformation. (pp. 127-144). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Legun, K. (2018). Securing the future of apple production. In E. Pawson & the Biological Economies Team. (Eds.), The new biological economy: How New Zealanders are creating value from the land. (pp. 98-115). Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press.

Legun, K. (2016). Ever-redder apples: How aesthetics shape the biology of markets. In R. Le Heron, H. Campbell, N. Lewis & M. Carolan (Eds.), Biological economies: Experimentation and the politics of agri-food frontiers. (pp. 127-140). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

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Chapter in Book - Other

Legun, K. A., & Bell, M. M. (2019). The environment. In A. Javier Treviño (Ed.), Investigating social problems. (2nd ed.) (pp. 340-367). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

Bell, M. M., & Legun, K. A. (2014). The environment. In A. Javier Treviño (Ed.), Investigating social problems. (pp. 366-393). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

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Journal - Research Article

Legun, K., & Sautier, M. (2018). Sustainability programs and deliberative processes: Assembling sustainable winegrowing in New Zealand. Agriculture & Human Values. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10460-018-9879-z

Sautier, M., Legun, K. A., Rosin, C., & Campbell, H. (2018). Sustainability: A tool for governing wine production in New Zealand? Journal of Cleaner Production, 179, 347-356. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.12.194

Alrøe, H. F., Sautier, M., Legun, K., Whitehead, J., Noe, E., Moller, H., & Manhire, J. (2017). Performance versus values in sustainability transformation of food systems. Sustainability, 9(3), 332. doi: 10.3390/su9030332

de Olde, E. M., Moller, H., Marchand, F., McDowell, R. W., MacLeod, C. J., Sautier, M., … Legun, K. A., … Szymanski, E., … Manhire, J. (2017). When experts disagree: The need to rethink indicator selection for assessing sustainability of agriculture. Environment, Development & Sustainability, 19(4), 1327-1342. doi: 10.1007/s10668-016-9803-x

Legun, K. (2017). Desires, sorted: Massive modern packing lines in an era of affective food markets. Journal of Rural Studies, 52, 110-117. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.02.016

Rosin, C. J., Legun, K. A., Campbell, H., & Sautier, M. (2017). From compliance to co-production: Emergent forms of agency in sustainable wine production in New Zealand. Environment & Planning A, 49(12), 2780-2799. doi: 10.1177/0308518X17733747

Legun, K., & Bell, M. M. (2016). The second middle: Conducers and the agrifood economy. Journal of Rural Studies, 48, 104-114. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.10.004

Legun, K. A. (2015). Club apples: A biology of markets built on the social life of variety. Economy & Society, 44(2), 293-315. doi: 10.1080/03085147.2015.1013743

Legun, K. (2015). Tiny trees for trendy produce: Dwarfing technologies as assemblage actors in orchard economies. Geoforum, 65, 314-322. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.03.009

Legun, K. (2011). Cultivating institutions: Organic agriculture and integrative economic choice. Society & Natural Resources, 24(5), 455-468. doi: 10.1080/08941920903002560

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Journal - Research Other

Legun, K. A., & Henry, M. (2017). Introduction to the special issue on the post-human turn in agri-food studies: Thinking about things from the office to the page. Journal of Rural Studies, 52, 77-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.05.008

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Legun, K., Campbell, H., & Hale, J. (2017). Hybrid institutions after (post?) neoliberalism. Proceedings of the Agrifood Research Network Conference (Agrifood XXIV). (pp. 35-36). Retrieved from https://afrn.co/agrifood-conference/

Burch, K., Legun, K., & Campbell, H. (2017). Not defined by the numbers: Distinction, dissent and democratic possibilities in debating the data. Proceedings of the Sociological Association of Aotearoa, New Zealand (SAANZ) Conference: Respect Existence or Expect Resistance. (pp. 15). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/saanz

Burch, K., Legun, K., & Campbell, H. (2017). Not defined by the numbers: Distinction, dissent and democratic possibilities in debating the data following Tokyo Electric Power Company's nuclear disaster. Proceedings of the Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, Asian Conference on Asian Studies, and International Conference on Japan & Japan Studies: Global Realities: Precarious Survival and Belonging. (pp. 54). Retrieved from https://accs.iafor.org/accs2017/#programme

Hale, J., Legun, K., & Campbell, H. (2017). Standards for social sustainability? Proceedings of the Agrifood Research Network Conference (Agrifood XXIV). (pp. 18). Retrieved from https://afrn.co/agrifood-conference/

Legun, K. A. (2015). Club apples and plant-power in future food economies. Proceedings of the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. Retrieved from http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/AbstractDetail.cfm?AbstractID=63387

Legun, K. A. (2015). Tiny trees for trendy produce: Technologies of customization and flexible specialization in modern apple orchards. Proceedings of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Retrieved from http://convention2.allacademic.com/one/asa/asa15/

Sautier, M., Legun, K., & Campbell, H. (2015). A retrospective analysis of the NZ transition towards sustainable winegrowing practices. Proceedings of the Agrifood Research Network Conference (Agrifood XXII). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/agrifood-2015/index.html

Legun, K. (2015). Vibrant vegetables in meta-modern foodscapes. Proceedings of the Agrifood Research Network Conference (Agrifood XXII). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/agrifood-2015/index.html

Rosin, C., Legun, K., Campbell, H., & Sautier, M. (2015). Metrological improvisations on sustainability transitions. Proceedings of the Agrifood Research Network Conference (Agrifood XXII). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/agrifood-2015/index.html

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Legun, K. (2017, June). Biologies/varieties/plant-power: The creative economic work of apples, tomatoes, and hops. Verbal presentation at the The Value of Life Conference: Measurement, Stakes, Implications, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Legun, K. (2015, November). Changing food systems: Auditing farms and shaping consumers. Verbal presentation at the Toxicology Symposium: Toxicology for the Modern Researcher, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Legun, K. (2014, November). Massive modern packing lines in an era of affected food markets. Verbal presentation at the 21st Australasian Agri-Food Research Network Conference: Food People Planet, Sydney, Australia.

Legun, K. (2012, December). From cultural materials to clubs in the US apple industry. Verbal presentation at the Agri-Food XIX: Australian and New Zealand Agri-Food Research Network Conference, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Legun, K. (2012, October). A Club Apple Society: The biosocial impacts of economic institutions and materiality of markets. Verbal presentation at the Joint Interim Conference of the International Sociological Association (ISA) RC02 "Economy and Society" and the European Sociological Association (ESA) Economic Sociology Research Network: Embeddedness and Beyond: Do Sociological Theories Meet Economic Realities? Moscow, Russia.

Legun, K. A. (2011, July). Why are Club apples emerging in the apple industry? A political economy of institutional responses to market uncertainty and instability. Verbal presentation at the 74th Rural Sociological Society Annual Meeting in conjunction with the 43rd Community Development Society Annual Meeting: Reshaping Rural America in an Urban Society: Innovative Approaches for Community Change, Boise, Idaho.

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Other - Edited Journal

Henry, M., & Legun, K. (Eds.). (2017). Journal of Rural Studies, 52 [Special issue: The post-human turn in agri-food]. [Guest Editors].

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