Dr. Anderson researches and teaches agricultural and environmental sociology. Drawing on political ecology and agroecology foundations, Kathryn studies the twin problems of supporting vibrant agricultural communities and enhancing the environmental sustainability of agriculture. In agri-food systems throughout the world, farmers tend to be structurally disempowered relative to nodes farther up along the value chain. This results in power and profits concentrating away from rural areas and a concomitant hollowing out of the countryside, with communities losing population and opportunities that would motivate youth to stay and contribute to vibrant and innovative rural economies. At the same time, structural changes in agricultural are threatening climate stability, aquatic ecosystems, and biodiversity, with environmental regulations disproportionately burdening primary producers. Historically, different countries and constituencies of farmers have responded to these challenges with a tremendous diversity of tactics and institutions, from forming cooperatives to dumping milk in protest. Kathryn’s work explores how various producer associations organize to empower farmers and protect the environment, and what opportunities and limitations they face. Kathryn relies on in-depth interviews, ethnographic observation, media content analysis, and quantitative data analysis. In the past, Kathryn has researched the U.S. organic dairy sector, the livelihood implications of conservation in Bolivia and climate change in Brazil, and water pollution from animal agriculture across Wisconsin and different European counties.
PhD in Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
PhD in Environment and Resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison
MS in Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
BS in Psychology, Wesleyan University
Research Interests / Specializations:
Environmental sociology, economic sociology, sociology of agriculture, agroecology, political ecology, agriculture and food systems, gender, race and ethnicity, qualitative methods, mixed methods, inter-disciplinary methods.
Mailing addressDepartment of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720