Soils in Ecosocial Context: Soil pH and Social Relations of Power in a Northern Drava Floodplain Agricultural Area

  • Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro


Focusing on pedochemical change in cultivated soils, this chapter provides an example of how soils and social power relations can be studied together. Soil and farming input data were gathered in 2008–2010 from fields characterized as Hydromorphic Meadow soils. Semi-structured interviews addressed farming practices and social position. Results indicate that soil pH is differentially affected by intrinsic soil properties and farming impacts that vary by class, gender, and ethnicity. Soil pH trends are found to be interlinked in multiple directions with current social inequalities because of past and current combinations of soil and social processes. Decreasing pH associates with male, middle-income status. The inverse is linked to wealthier males, through amendments and appropriation of soil-alkalizing legacies, and to poor Roma women, through low agrochemical input and less-demanding crops.



The author wishes to thank Mazen Labban and Rebecca Lave. Without their efforts, encouragement, insights, and constructive critiques this manuscript would not have been conceived. The author is also indebted to two thoughtful, anonymous reviewers, whose careful critical reading helped markedly improve this manuscript. Many thanks also go to Zita Ferenczi (Hungarian Meteorological Service), Sándor Hajdú (Soil and Plant Protection Agency, Baranya County), Sándor Kucsera (Soil Testing Lab, Velence), Sándor Kurucz (Soil and Plant Protection Agency, Baranya County), Attila Melegh (Demographic Research Institute, Budapest), Gábor István Tóth, Tibor Tóth (Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Research), and Kálmán Vörös for their generous and crucial assistance prior to and during the project. This manuscript is based on a project supported by the National Science Foundation (USA) under Grant No. 0615878.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographySUNY New PaltzNew PaltzUSA

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