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The latest book by Concordia’s Kregg Hetherington scores a double award win

The Government of Beans: Regulating Life in the Age of Monocrops is a project 10 years in the making
February 21, 2022

Police standing in riot gear in front of a crop field. A detail from the cover of Kregg Hetherington's award-winning book.

Kregg Hetherington admits he’s giddy about the success of his recent book, The Government of Beans: Regulating Life in the Age of Monocrops.

Hetherington is associate professor in Concordia’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Science. The Government of Beans, published by Duke University Press in 2020, examines the economic, political and environmental impacts a surge in soybean caused in Paraguay at the turn of the 21st century.

Since its publication, he has been awarded the Book Prize in Critical Anthropology from the Association of Political and Legal Anthropology, as well as the Julian Steward Award from the Anthropology and Environment Society. This latter award was shared with Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine by Sophia Stamatapoulou-Robbins.

Image of the cover of a book with police standing in front of a crop field in riot gear.

A long road to publication

“Writing a book is such a long project — in this case, 10 years! — and you really don’t know how it’s going to be received when it’s finally out there. Recognition like this is always great,” says Hetherington, who is also director of the Concordia Ethnography Lab.

He is very happy the book was recognized by two such different groups, saying it speaks to the scope of the subject. He’s also glad he was able to share the Julian Steward Award with Stamatapoulou-Robbins.

And Hetherington is quick to share credit for the book’s success.

“My department is an incredibly rich and intellectually diverse place that gives us the freedom and support to do the research that we think is important. I’ve also been privileged to be surrounded by amazing graduate students who keep pushing me to learn more and think more deeply about these issues,” he notes.

“But most importantly, the research would have been impossible without the help of countless people in Paraguay who have been working with me for years on this project.”

Future plans

Hetherington has no plans to slow down. His ethnography lab is currently working on a collaborative project involving urban water politics.

And, no surprise — as soon as the pandemic allows, he’s heading back to Paraguay. There he will be working on a collaborative project involving small farmers impacted by the factors described in his award-winning book.

Kregg Hetherington’s award-winning book about soybean production in Paraguay.

Find out more about Concordia’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology.



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