ERIC Number: EJ723835
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Across the Divide (?): Reconciling Farm and Town Views of Agriculture-Community Linkages
Smithers, John; Joseph, Alun E.; Armstrong, Matthew
Journal of Rural Studies, v21 n3 p281-295 Jul 2005
In North America and elsewhere it is frequently asserted that changes in rural society have led to an economic and social "decoupling" of agriculture from the wider rural community. Casual analysis of contemporary media reporting and popular discourse would suggest that interactions between the two spheres are as often characterized by neglect or conflict as by complementarity and collaboration. However, scholarly interpretation of evolving relations between farming and the wider rural community, and whether these constitute a trend to relinking or decoupling, has remained elusive and problematic. This paper advocates for and articulates a case study approach to the analysis of "ambiguous interdependency" at the local level. Specifically, it is argued that much can be learned from a comparative analysis of farm and town views of sector-specific development trajectories and of implications for agriculture-community linkages. Insights obtained from in-depth interviews with 68 farm and town residents of South Huron County, Ontario, suggest a strong tendency for farmers to undervalue their importance and influence within the local community, but also highlight certain consequences of ongoing agricultural change and recent municipal restructuring that point toward the continued reshaping of agricultural community linkages. The research suggests both points of convergence and divergence that may be valuable in understanding, and perhaps managing, future development at the local scale and beyond.
Descriptors: Rural Farm Residents, Rural Population, Community Relations, Comparative Analysis, Case Studies, Agriculture, Rural Sociology, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada