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ERIC Number: EJ935184
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0743-0167
Ecological Embeddedness: An Interrogation and Refinement of the Concept within the Context of Alternative Food Networks in the UK
Morris, Carol; Kirwan, James
Journal of Rural Studies, v27 n3 p322-330 Jul 2011
Among their many "alternative" characteristics, food networks that seek to reconfigure the relationship between producers and consumers are understood as having the potential to be beneficial for the rural environment and landscape. One of the ways in which this characteristic has been conceptualised is through the notion of "ecological embeddedness". Although the roots of this concept lie in economic sociology, where the social embeddedness of economic relations has been the focus of interest, agro-food researchers have extended its meaning to suggest that alternative or "quality" food production can also be seen as increasingly embedded in "natural" or ecological processes. However, this paper argues that until now the notion of ecological embeddedness has lacked conceptual clarity. As such, the aim is to interrogate and refine the concept of embeddedness, specifically as it pertains to ecologies within the context of food production on-farm. Ecological embeddedness, it is argued, must encompass more than just recognition of the general influence of the natural environment on economic activity. Specifically, it must reflect a change in the relations between economic actors and the natural environment that produces a benefit to both. The paper also establishes how the concept of ecological embeddedness might be operationalised in research practice as a means of exploring the ecological dimensions of alternative food networks. An illustration of this empirical application is provided. The paper concludes by asserting the value of ecological embeddedness as a concept, in spite of the observed limitations of embeddedness in other contexts and the challenges that are associated with its ecological application. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom