Pigs in the city: reflective deliberations on the boundary concept of agroparks in the Netherlands

T.A.P. Metze, Sabine Van Zuydam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of an agro-production park combines industrial with environmental and animal friendly agriculture. In The Netherlands, academics and government introduced this idea—what we consider a boundary concept—to align economic and environmental ambitions. In this contribution, we argue that boundary concepts are important in deliberations as they create a sphere of engagement that enables participants to scrutinize their routines and to explore new interpretations and practices that replace their normal ways. In this way we ground the notion of ‘reflexive governance’ in deliberative practices for sustainable agriculture. We explored if and how the concept of an agropark induced frame-reflective conversations about conflicting and overlapping interpretations. We conducted a frame analysis of four Dutch national newspapers from which we derived four possible interpretations of an agropark: Pigs in the City, Surviving Farmers, Pigs in the Mud and Surviving Citizens. Next, we analysed 10 deliberative sessions about agroparks to study if reflectivity occurred. Our findings suggest that to move to more sustainable agriculture, the introduction of innovative boundary crossing concepts invites participants to reflect on conflicting frames and engage in reflective governance. However, facilitators and governmental actors need to support this boundary crossing for it to become tangible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-688
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number6
Early online date20 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • boundary concept
  • Reflective deliberation
  • reflexive governance
  • sustainable agriculture


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