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.

Agricultural Production in Crisis

Agricultural production in crisis
Jan Douwevan der Ploeg

Introduction

In this chapter I will argue that world agriculture is involved in a persistent and many-faceted crisis. This crisis is not just externally induced; it stems also from ‘internal’ relations, that increasingly interact with, and enforce the impact of, outside pressures exerted on agriculture. The underlying interdependencies are such that policy interventions aiming at the alleviation of, at least some of, the expressions of the crisis, often trigger a deepening of other aspects within the same or in other time-space locations. The discussion of this complex and persistent crisis will be used to develop a re-actualized definition of the old but never disappearing ‘agrarian question’. I will pay special attention to an often unnoticed aspect, ...

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