The Handbook of Rural Studies represents the vitality and theoretical innovation at work in rural studies. It shows how political economy and the "cultural turn" have led to very significant new thinking in the cultural representations of: rurality; nature; sustainability; new economies; power and rurality; new consumerism; and exclusion and rurality.It is organized in three sections: approaches to rural studies; rural research: key theoretical co-ordinates and new rural relations.In a rich and textured discussion, the Handbook of Rural Studies explains the key moments in which the theorization of culture, nature, politics, agency, and space in rural contexts have transmitted ideas back into wider social science.

Sustaining the Unsustainable: Agro-Food Systems and Environment in the Modern World

Sustaining the Unsustainable: Agro-Food Systems and Environment in the Modern World

Sustaining the unsustainable: Agro-food systems and environment in the modern world
Frederick H.Buttel∗


For more than two decades scholars, policymakers and citizens groups have employed and debated the notion of agricultural sustainability. There is general agreement that sustainability can be defined, in part, as environmental or ecological soundness of the production system or agro-food commodity chain. There is also general agreement that while ecological soundness is the core dimension of sustainability, economic viability and ‘justice’ or ‘equity’ are also significant dimensions (Allen, 1993).

Sustainability is employed variously as a critique and sometimes as a defence of prevailing agricultural practices and institutions. On one hand, some observers insist that modern agriculture tends to fall far short of a ...

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