Re-embedding Agriculture through Multifunctionality? Agri-Environmental Governance and Sustainable Rural Development

Michiel P.M.M. de Krom

    Onderzoeksoutput: Hoofdstuk in Boek/Rapport/CongresprocedureC3: Congres abstractpeer review


    The concept of ‘multifunctional agriculture’ (MFA) articulates the notion that agriculture should be assessed and valued not only for its contribution to food production, but also to wider socio-economic, environmental, and cultural amenities. Framed in opposition to agro-industrial practices that are largely detached from other rural practices, wider society, and local ecologies, the (potential) contribution of MFA to sustainable rural development through a social and ecological re-embedding of agriculture is an important theme in current rural sociological literature. This paper explores if and how one specific form of MFA – the deliverance of agri-environmental services – contributes to a socio-ecological re-embedding of agriculture, and which governance arrangements such a re-embedding suggests and requires. The paper discusses in-depth case studies of three Flemish (Belgian) agri-environmental schemes, involving governance arrangements that correspond to three analytically distinct modes to facilitate agricultural re-embedding: (i) devolving governance functions to local/regional levels; (ii) re-connecting places of production with places of consumption through information - e.g. by labelling; and (iii) re-creating producer-consumer relations in situations of co-presence. With the help of qualitative analyses of grey literature and semi-structured interviews with farmers and other stakeholders (governmental agents, food supply chain actors, NGOs, citizen-consumers, non-agricultural companies), the paper discerns to what extent and why the schemes contribute to rural economic, social, cultural, and ecological capital. Moreover, combining theories of ecological modernisation with theories of practice, the paper reflects on how the different governance arrangements enable or constrain an internalisation of environmental rationalities in farming practices and a (re-)establishment of socio-cultural relations between farmers and other stakeholders.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TitelBook of Abstracts 10th Conference of the European Sociological Association, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-10 September 2011
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 2011
    Evenement10th Conference of the European Sociological Association (2011) - Genève, Zwitserland
    Duur: 7-sep.-201110-sep.-2011

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