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Abstract

Today’s farmers are facing growing criticism about their activities, around questions of pollution, sanitary affairs, climatic change or animal welfare, non-professional actors promoting their own definitions of what farming activities should be – or should not be. This particular situation provides a good opportunity to explore the new professional discourses developed by a contested profession, fostered to re-elaborate the sense of its activities. Based on a survey in a rural mountain community, we present the criticisms addressed to cattle farmers by non-farmers in the village, which stress problems about land ownership, manure management, and pasture maintenance. We highlight two types of professional discourse developed by cattle farmers in response to the criticisms: The first one combines a victimisation figure with the threat of giving up the job; the second one claims responsibility and anticipation of the non-farmers’ demands, as far as technical constraints make this anticipation possible

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