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Comparing rural development with agricultural modernisation, there are fundamental differences. Industrial development of agriculture more and more segregates agriculture…
Comparing rural development with agricultural modernisation, there are fundamental differences. Industrial development of agriculture more and more segregates agriculture from other functions and is based on an ‘individualised transaction model’ in which the world consists of loose particles that are linked by markets (atomistic world view). Conversely rural development can be perceived as a form of re-socialisation of agriculture and is based on a ‘relational cooperation model’ in which new relations characterise business development.
This chapter is a second level type of analysis of many research findings of these common traits or features and gives a picture of the distinctiveness of rural development practices. Nine different features that characterize rural development practices are described and discussed: (1) novelty production, (2) relative autonomy, (3) synergy, (4) clashes and competing claims, (5) coalitions and new relations; the construction of rural webs, (6) common pool resources, (7) new division of labour, (8) the distinctive different impact and (9) resilience. The more these features are present and intertwined, the better the specific practice can face and withstand adverse conditions. These features and the associated practices have to be understood as part of a wider transitional process that might co-evolve with or run counter to competing transitional processes.
Rural development is, above all, constructed by actors operating at grass-root level. These actors are increasingly facilitated by specific policy programmes, but these…
Rural development is, above all, constructed by actors operating at grass-root level. These actors are increasingly facilitated by specific policy programmes, but these programmes often follow the initiatives and practices already developed by the grass-root actors themselves. Policies follow, they do not trigger nor drive. This chapter is a second-level analysis of available European and national research material and focuses on the role of agricultural actors as crucial co-constitutors of RD processes. Some distinctive elements and characteristics of RD-practitioners are identified, described and discussed. Taken together these characteristics underscore that RD-actors may reflect distinctive features. It is finally argued that RD-actors will develop especially distinctive personal attributes through iterative learning by doing processes and unfolding agency. Both are thought to be key components of the resilience of RD-actors to withstand adverse conditions and to grasp new opportunities for alternative, more promising agricultural pathways.
From a more general point of view the initiatives and novel practices of farmers represent ‘seeds of transition’. They are the ‘sprouts’ out of which new socio-technical…
From a more general point of view the initiatives and novel practices of farmers represent ‘seeds of transition’. They are the ‘sprouts’ out of which new socio-technical modes for organizing production and marketing emerge – ‘sprouts’ that, taken together can be described under the term ‘rural development’. The examples are, on the whole, well-known; they include agro-ecological production, on-farm processing, agro-tourism, new credit associations and cooperative forms of commercialization. But it remains important to develop a more sociological interpretation of these new forms: since they are produced by social actors and are constantly redefined and modified through the relations and interactions implied by these new forms. This chapter defines the outline on actors and practices that will be discussed in later chapters of the book.
Fighting the drought. Based on this idea, for almost two centuries now the Brazilian State has elaborated policies and programmes intended to stimulate rural development…
Fighting the drought. Based on this idea, for almost two centuries now the Brazilian State has elaborated policies and programmes intended to stimulate rural development in the semiarid region of the country. It is this idea which has nourished the illusion that immense infrastructures need to be built to capture, store and transport large volumes of water in order to supply production activities in the region. Associated with this proposal is the attempt to reproduce the same pattern of development adopted in other Brazilian biomes, the main characteristic of which is the use of monoculture practices on large properties managed according to entrepreneurial modes of production. However the rich social experience promoted by rural worker organizations in the region has challenged this model by proposing living with the semiarid (Convivência com o Semiárido) as the guiding principle for alternative trajectories of development. Inspired by the experience of territorial development under way in the Agreste da Borborema region of Paraíba state, the chapter shows that the evolution of these new paths of development depends on revitalizing and mobilizing locally available resources, such as ecological potentials, social mechanisms for organizing labour and for producing and sharing knowledge, local forms of connecting food production to consumption and so on. The text concludes by emphasizing the need to design and implant institutional frameworks that enable a more balanced distribution of power between the State and civil society organizations, thereby allowing the latter to assume a more substantial role in identifying and managing endogenous resources that underpin self-centred development strategies.
In any time and space and under any circumstance, we find peasants are never passive actors in their livelihoods and rural development. Instead, they always create space…
In any time and space and under any circumstance, we find peasants are never passive actors in their livelihoods and rural development. Instead, they always create space for manoeuvre in order to make changes. This chapter analyses the innovative actions taken by the majority of rural inhabitants in rural areas during the overwhelming modernization process, so as to affirm that peasants are the main actors of rural development. It is they who have shaped the transformation of rural societies and the history. Through the analysis, this chapter concludes that rural development is not an objective, a blueprint nor a design. It is not the to-be-developed rear field in modernization. It is not the babysitter for cities, nor a rehearsal place for bureaucrats to testify their random thoughts. Rural development is what peasants do. The path they have chosen reveals scenery so different from modernization. If we regard development as a social change, or a cross with influential meanings, we could understand rural development as peasants’ victories over their predicament. Villages accommodate not only peasants, but without peasants villages would surely vanish. In this sense, the most important part in rural development or rural change is peasants – their conditions and their feelings.