Lawn People Pt. 2 Ch.5-8


Ch.5    Does industry meet or produce demand?

  • Supply side of the chemical economy is far larger that it’s own segment
  • Agrochemical firms face increasing competition and a fickle market
  • These produced chemicals make people nervous, so they create strategies to get around this “chemophobia”, these strategies are central features of the chemical commodity chain.
  • Declining market
  • Rising Costs
  • Ecological Challenges
    • Weather
    • Development of resistance to pesticides


Research and Development

  • 8-10 to develop
  • 20 Yr patent
  • 10 Yrs of profit

  So companies utilize door to door sales (lawn evaluations)

“Push” strategy- used a close network of local retailers to sell their product

“Pull” strategy- create a perception of a “lawn” as transcending personal value to home, creating a lawn as invaluable piece of neighborhood pride.  A Lawn is marketed as social and cultural iconic image for a homeowner with neighborhood and family pride.

Figure 5.2 (pg. 82)

            Overuse of chemicals, Insecticide, Fertilizer, Herbicide

           A Study of 31 lawns in 2003 in Ohio-

                      Showed that self-applied chemicals by owners, showed no significant difference than that of lawns treated with no chemical treatment


  • The industries that manufacture, process, and sell inputs for the lawn find themselves under increasing pressure to find and produce to find and produce markets. Global chemical producers, with rising costs and constrained markets, require consumer outlets to move a lot of chemicals under conditions of falling prices.
  • Chemical production is an unintended but logical product of larger forces, consolidations, and negotiations of global industries in the early 21st century.


Lawn People?

Ch.6 Do Lawn People choose lawns?

  • “Neighborly” more likely to use chemicals
  • Homeowners are rewarded for environmentally detrimental behavior
  • “Neighborhood pride”
  • Disregard for lawn care is, by implication, a form of free riding, civil neglect, and moral weakness
  • Yard managements is a (social purpose)

Kingberry Court

Affluent upper middle class, well educated, white suburban neighborhood in the Midwest.

American Suburbia

           Survey of 8 neighbors-

  • 3-called themselves environmentalists
  • 3- were ambiguous about their concern for the environment
  • 2- Flat out said they had no concern for the environment
  • 6-8-ackknoldged there were potential risks by using chemicals of their lawns
  • 2 of the 8 (Michael and Tom) they two who had no concern for the environmental impacts of their actions, were the two most highly educated men, with Michael being the wealthiest as well
  • 4-8 said they were to busy to devote the time to worry about their environmental impacts on their lawns

 All showed signs of moral Responsibility to their neighbors

  • Some wanted to Fit In
  • Common Courtesy
  • Help Out

           Lawn people fundamentally contradict apolitical theories of a Green Citizen

“Lawns” are fixed clusters of grasses, chemicals, and people: a form of socioenvironmental monoculture” (pg.116)

Ch.7 Can lawn people choose Alternatives?


  • Planting native species
  • Ground Covers (Cloves)
  • Rain Gardens
  • Xeriscape-rock gardens
  • Turf

Real Grass on the Left, on the Right Synthetic Grass

Survey of U.S. lawn people (pg.119)

  • 39% use non chemical control
  • 23% replaced at least part of their lawn with ground cover
  • 11% had even eaten wild species 

Barriers to Alternatives-

  • Municipal codes
  • Aesthetic Violations
  • Deeds and Coventas = legally bound to a owner or renter
  • Legal Reform is slow, more prevalent in Canada and Europe 

Ch. 8– Becoming Turf Grass Subjects


  • Lawn developed as a product if the economic growth conditions in the suburban real estate development, tied to proselytizing that connected the lawn with a certain kind of desirable urban citizen and economic subject
  • Increasing competition, rising costs, falling revenues, debt and consolidation – these conditions require increased access and sales to consumers.
  • Lawns are now becoming more than a desirable household item, now invaluable pieces to a community and to a wholesome family atmosphere.
  • To create this image the industry continues to shed costs and risks downward and outward towards the consumers and workers
  • “Lawn people are citizens of a risk society, caught up in the contradictions of a larger economy, enrolled in a collective ecology” (pg. 131)
  • ‘Lawns’ and the non-human world have crucial and active roles in directing the conditions of the economy and the character of human nature

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