ERIC Number: EJ724429
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Injecting Social Psychology Theory into Conceptualisations of Agricultural Agency: Towards a Post-Productivist Farmer Self-Identity?
Burton, Rob J. F.; Wilson, Geoff A.
Journal of Rural Studies, v22 n1 p95-115 Jan 2006
Macro-scale changes to Western agricultural regimes have led to recent debates on the theoretical conceptualisation of agricultural change, particularly regarding the appropriateness of the productivist/post-productivist/multifunctionality (P/PP/MF) model. Within these debates concern has recently arisen as to whether the contemporary perspective, which derives largely from macro-level structural analyses (such as political economy), is compatible with the grassroots "agency" perspective--i.e. whether our conceptualisations of agricultural change follow the Giddensian notion of structure/agency consistency. In this paper we contribute to this debate by investigating the extent to which farmers' self-concepts and attitudes towards post-productivist approaches are compatible with the current structural changes in agriculture. By introducing the notion from social psychology of a complex self-structure comprised of multiple and hierarchically organised identities, and by investigating the structure of these identities in farmers' idealised P/PP/MF selves, the study questions the idea that any transformation from productivism to post-productivism/multifunctionality will be in the form of a simple linear transition. Results from a survey of farmers in Bedfordshire (UK) and evidence from other studies throughout Europe and Western agricultural regimes demonstrate that--despite much talk of an increasing "conservationist" component to farming--farmers' self-concepts are still dominated by production-oriented identities. The study concludes that there is a temporal discordance between the macro- and micro-structural elements of transition implied in the P/PP/MF model, and that we are witnessing at most a partial macro-structural driven transition towards a post-productivist agricultural regime.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Social Psychology, Self Concept, Agriculture, Change, Agricultural Occupations, Agribusiness, Identification (Psychology)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)