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Against the background of increasing infrastructure loss in many rural areas, this study aims to contribute conceptually and empirically towards better understanding of…
Against the background of increasing infrastructure loss in many rural areas, this study aims to contribute conceptually and empirically towards better understanding of rural innovation processes related to provision of public goods.
The nationally focused understanding of innovation processes leads the debate on rural development into a dilemma that this study seeks to sidestep via the concept of social innovation. Community cooperatives – a type of social enterprise that has increasingly emerged in rural areas of Germany in the past decade – offer the opportunity to examine social innovation processes. This cross-case study reveals the broad range of activities in which such cooperatives are active and analyses their social innovation processes.
The study shows that the social innovation governance framework enables examination of social innovation processes. Although macro-level policy has appeared to be an important instrument for financing social innovation, public actors at the micro-level seem barely able to initiate social innovation processes unless they are also private actors and, therefore, can pursue additional incentives. The social innovations studied here seem to differ in terms of their actor constellations and resource-allocation patterns, depending on whether they are concerned with the establishment or maintenance of local infrastructure. What they have in common, however, is the initiation of formalised collective-action processes that serve to legitimise social innovation.
By applying an analytical framework that is new to the literature on social innovation, the study provides insight into the activities and decision-making processes of actors involved in social innovation in rural areas. In this context, community cooperatives have rarely been studied as an interface between public, private and civil society actors or as a platform for mobilising human, social and financial capital.
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.
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.
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.
European policy has had over time two main features: welfare state and democracy. Both issues have defined the model of development in Europe and have led to the European…
European policy has had over time two main features: welfare state and democracy. Both issues have defined the model of development in Europe and have led to the European integration project. This model of development and continental integration based on the principles of democracy, freedom and solidarity has proven to work. But, nowadays challenges like globalisation or European enlargement require new instruments to promote and enhance this model.
The chapter identifies key components of the new patterns of farming and rural livelihoods emerging in Latin America in the twenty-first century. By the beginning of the…
The chapter identifies key components of the new patterns of farming and rural livelihoods emerging in Latin America in the twenty-first century. By the beginning of the millennium, most rural areas of Latin America had become integrated into global agricultural commodity networks that curtail the opportunities for small-scale, family-based farming and result in two predominant types of production, the corporate large-scale enterprise suited to oils seeds and their derivatives, cattle or vegetables for processing and the smaller commercially oriented farm producing market garden products, fruits and wine. Both types of farms often form part of commodity networks organized by domestic intermediaries, large-scale supermarket chains, such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour, and foreign food marketers. In addition to the multiplication of external commercial linkages, high levels of urbanization have increasingly blurred the distinction between the rural and the urban. Off-farm work, including international labor migration, is now an important source of rural livelihoods. This context means that research needs to address the multiple interfaces that now connect the different types of rural inhabitants with a wide range of external actors.
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.
Peasants play a key role in the processes of growth and development of rural areas. But the practices and the organizational forms or arrangements can be very different in…
Peasants play a key role in the processes of growth and development of rural areas. But the practices and the organizational forms or arrangements can be very different in relation to the context or territory of origin. This has resulted in a multiplicity of solutions unlikely to be repeated in other sectorial or scientific context. This heterogeneity of responses allows the peasants model to strengthen the resilience of rural areas and offer itself as an alternative model of agricultural modernization paths increasingly ineffective in managing the modern complexity. This is a common element that emerges in all experiences of rural development in Brazil, China, and Europe, which are compared in this book. In addition to this, this chapter highlights some commonalities that can be used to delineate the attributes of the new peasantry and its consolidation and dissemination in space and time.
In Austria, more than three quarters of the population live in either predominantly or significantly rural areas. With structural adjustment and the integration of agriculture into the rural economy, the concern for the development of rural areas has risen considerably over the past decades. The rural is one area for the articulation and performance of citizenship rights and it constitutes a challenge to assumptions of universalistic citizenship. Commonly, agricultural policy and rural development policy are seen as “gender-neutral” policy fields but the institutionalised patterns of policies for rural areas in Austria likewise tend to favour male perspectives. It is assumed that both men and women can benefit from the effects of programmes, projects and measures. But because of the mostly different living conditions of men and women – differences in the participation in the working sphere, household and care work, mobility, income and qualification – political measures and instruments have different effects on men and women (Hobson, Lewis, & Siim, 2002, p. 12). Compared to men, women have limited opportunities to take an active part in the shaping of agricultural and rural development policy. This can lead to reduced relevance and efficiency of interventions in rural development policy and regional policy (Aufhauser, Herzog, Hinterleitner, Oedl-Wieser, & Reisinger, 2003).
Purpose – The policy approach of multifunctionality – that agriculture has benefits beyond the production of food and fiber – has been debated within global trade…
Purpose – The policy approach of multifunctionality – that agriculture has benefits beyond the production of food and fiber – has been debated within global trade negotiations. Little is known about the perceptions of agriculture's multifunctional nature at the local level. These perceptions may be particularly pertinent in rural locations undergoing rapid transformations of the agricultural system, economic base, and related land uses. This chapter describes research conducted to examine the perceptions of agriculture's impact on local communities and the policy choices needed to support agriculture's multifunctionality.
Methodology – Six focus groups were conducted in Pennsylvania, USA. Counties were selected to represent three differentiated rural spaces (contested, clientelist, preserved), in which production and consumption interests claims vie for control of rural land. Participants represented both production and consumption interests, and described their perceptions of local agriculture and policy preferences.
Findings – Production and consumption interests across the study sites expressed views consonant with global discussions, in that agriculture provides significant positive impacts and few negative. However, locally specific issues related to taxes, land use planning, and farmland preservation dominated discussion. Participants supported a mix of policy tools (voluntary, regulatory, educational), but gave little credence to federal programs.
Research limitations/implications – Policy initiatives to support agricultural multifunctionality need to be sensitive to local conditions and create an enabling environment to allow multiple stakeholders opportunities to identify issues and preferred policy mechanisms.
Originality – Previous research has identified multifunctionality concepts at the global level; this chapter localizes multifunctionality, and examines potential hurdles to implementation.