This book is the result of a selection of papers presented in the seminar held in Beijing in 2012. It is the third in chronological order of a seminar series on the comparative analysis of rural development in China, Brazil, and the EU. In previous seminars (2010 in Rome, 2011 in Porto Alegre) the focus was, first, on the nature and dynamics of rural development processes and, second, on the performance of rural development policies. In the third seminar (held in Beijing in November 2012), the focus was on actors and practices. What motivates the actors who are actively involved in rural development? And how do they structure their new practices? In this chapter, different stories on rural development practices between China, Brazil, and the EU are illustrated, highlighting the differences and also commonalities and similarities. In this story, the figure of the peasant appears crucial and in different dimensions: from the manager of natural resources who takes the greatest care of their condition in order to achieve the largest profits; to the innovator who builds on age old methods to find novel solutions with the available conditions, resources, and technologies, and who creates the right synergies for harmonious and positive impact solutions; to the rural villager who does with what he/she has and knows, but who at the same time is curious about innovations; to the father who is aware that he is responsible for building a future for his children. Peasant agriculture seems to go beyond its own limits through a transition process that has led to a paradigm shift moving away from the modernization and creating new opportunities and alternatives in terms of practices, products, and markets. These alternatives are now representing the base for a new autonomy and competitiveness of rural areas in an increasingly globalized world.
We wish to thank Professor Tony Fuller for the helpful comments and English revision and Nick Parrott for the English revision of Chapters 1, 2, 4, and 13.
Milone, P., Ventura, F. and Ye, J. (2015), "Introduction", Constructing a New Framework for Rural Development (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1057-192220150000022021
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