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The objectives of the Association are to: foster the development of rural sociology; further the application of sociological inquiry to the improvement of the quality of rural life; and provide a mechanism whereby rural sociologists can generate dialogue and useful exchange.

Call for papers: Metrics in environmental governance: Toward a critical analysis of accountability

Sponsors: RC40 (Agriculture and Food), RC23 (Science and Technology), RC24 (Environment and Society)

Proposal Coordinator: Steven Wolf (RC40)

Abstract & Justification
Analysis of metrics, and standards more generally, has emerged as an important focus within studies of environmental governance. Accountability is attracting increasing attention, as there is a need to address questions about material consequences as part of an effort to move beyond analysis of institutional design.

Heightened attention to metrics has accompanied increasing emphasis on market-based and outcome-based policy designs, but bureaucratic modes of governance have long been predicated on the specification of categories and systems of representation. Metrics can be understood as a resource for democratic accountability, and they can be instruments of authoritarian discipline at a distance. Metrics support empirical analysis and policy learning, but at the same time they obscure knowledge claims, technical uncertainty, and alternative problem definitions. This ambiguity demands attention. Analysis of the metrics of governance, and the governance of metrics, presents opportunities for theoretical and empirical engagement on questions of “Power, Violence, and Justice: Reflections, Responses, and Responsibilities”(2018 Theme).

This collaboration between three ISA Research Committees aims to realize topical, theoretical, and methodological synergies. Linkages between environment and agrifood production and consumption are highlighted in the biological and land-based nature of farming (inputs to agriculture) and by the negative implications of agriculture for water, biodiversity, and climate (outputs of agriculture). Attention to interdependence among discursive constructs, local action, political economic structures, and multiply-scaled material flows characterize both the sociology of environment and agrifood sociology. Science and Technology Studies has served to highlight the socially embedded nature of technical acts including promulgation of standards. Further, this field has championed a methodological commitment to analysis of (grounded, local, actor-centered) practice as a complement to production of overarching histories of design (abstract representations).

IRSA General Assembly, August 13 2016

International Rural Sociology Association
General Assembly
Toronto, Canada
Saturday, August 13, 2016 (11am – 1pm)

Outgoing President Geoff Lawrence opened the General Assembly by welcoming all those present. President Lawrence then reported to the Assembly that the IRSA Council had voted unanimously to accept the Nigerian Rural Sociology Association (NRSA) as an “Associate Organization” under article 3 of the IRSA Constitution. A representative who was in attendance stood up to thank IRSA and to invite all IRSA members to attend the upcoming NRSA meeting in October.

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New President Identifies Priorities for IRSA

Ikegami PhotoProfessor Koichi Ikegami has been elected President of IRSA for 2016-2020. Professor Ikegami is based in the Faculty of Agriculture at Kindai University, Nara, Japan. His scholarly work embraces the areas of food, agriculture, fair trade and community sustainability. He has held many important and influential roles over the past few decades including President of the Asian Rural Sociology Association and President of the Japanese Association for Rural Studies. He has also been a regional representative on the Council of IRSA. He has outlined his vision for IRSA which can read here.

Successful IRSA World Congress 2016

geoffrey-lawrenceA very successful IRSA Congress was held at Ryerson University in Toronto between 10 and 14 August. Over 800 delegate presented at the Congress. Highlights can be found at: http://www.ryerson.ca/arts/irsacongress2016/ . The Congress was opened by Outgoing President, Professor Geoffrey Lawrence who stressed the continuing importance of researching rural issues in an era of urbanisation and globalisation. Click here to read his address.

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