'Post-productivist' agricultural regimes and the South: Discordant concepts?

  • Wilson G
  • Rigg J
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Abstract

In this paper we review current assumptions about post-productivist agricultural regimes - developed largely within a UK/advanced economies framework - and attempt to answer the question whether the concept of post-productivism can be used to understand contemporary agricultural change in developing world regions. Our analysis is loosely based around six interconnected 'indicators' of post-productivism: policy change; organic farming; counter-urbanization; the inclusion of environmental NGOs at the core of policy-making; the consumption of the countryside; and on-farm diversification activities. We argue that the successful 'exporting' of the theory of post-productivism to the South relies on shared definitions, meanings and - ultimately - discourses of post-productivism. Although similar patterns can be observed in rural areas of the developing world, there is confusion about the exact meaning of complex agricultural/rural activities. Further, our analysis questions the implied linearity of the traditional concept of the productivist/post-productivist transition. Ultimately, a relative assessment of the shift towards post-productivism would circumvent discursive problems related to definitions and meanings of specific post-productivist concepts and indicators. Weconclude by arguing that the notion of post-productivism and the developing world are not necessarily 'discordant concepts', but we suggest that the concept needs to be adapted and developed to address specific conditions in the rural South, possibly by combining theoretical approaches surrounding the notion of 'post-productivism' developed largely from a Northern perspective, and 'deagrarianization' from a Southern perspective.ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR

Author-supplied keywords

  • Deagrarianization
  • Indicators of agricultural and rural change
  • Post-productivist agricultural regimes
  • Rural South
  • Sustainable agriculture

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