Professor 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.
In the last President’s Corner of 2015 I outlined evidence of the (largely negative) impacts of neoliberalism on farming and rural communities. One issue not covered was that of resistance to neoliberalism. In this President’s Corner I have attached an interesting overview of this issue by leading rural sociologists Professors Alessandro Bonanno (Sam Houston State University) and Steven Wolf (Cornell University). They provide examples of opposition to a corporate-based agri-food system, highlighting the groups which are proposing alternative futures. Their contribution is a background ‘white paper’ for the mini-conference on ‘The New Frontiers of Resistance in Global Agri-food’, to be held at the IRSA World Congress of Rural Sociology in Toronto this August.
The UN General Assembly has declared this year the International Year of Soils. The aim is to increase awareness about the importance of soils to the planet’s future. How can rural sociologists – and other social scientists – become involved? Continue reading
In recent times our colleagues have been evaluating neoliberalism and its impacts upon farming – and upon rural society, more generally. A significant contribution has been Steven Wolf and Alessandro Bonanno’s edited collection The Neoliberal Regime in the Agri-food Sector: Crisis, Resilience and Restructuring which arose from an RSS Sociology of Agrifood Research Interest Group (SAFRIG) mini-conference held in Chicago in 2012. In August this year the theme of the European Society for Rural Sociology Congress was ‘Places of Possibility: Rural Societies in a Neoliberal World’. Globally, agri-food scholars including Alessandro Bonanno, Hilde Bjorkhaug, Larry Busch, Hugh Campbell, Jennifer Clapp, Madeleine Fairbairn, Vaughan Higgins, Phil McMichael, Terry Marsden, Bill Pritchard and many others have sought to understand links between neoliberalism and agrifood restructuring. What have been the impacts of neoliberalism upon agriculture and rural society? Are we moving beyond neoliberalism?
The 21st conference of the Australasian Agri-food Research Network was held in Sydney, Australia, from 24-26 November 2014. I have provided an outline of the program and some of the highlights. Continue reading
The Fifth International Conference of the Asian Rural Sociological Association was held in Vientiane, Laos, from 2-5 September 2014. I was invited to present a keynote which I had written with colleagues from Australia and Germany (click to access paper). The keynote dealt with the process of ‘financialisation’ and what this might mean for rural Asia. However, there were several other prominent themes which emerged from the conference. Continue reading
2014 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Family Farming. It is estimated that there are over 500 million small-holder/family farms worldwide and that these farms provide food for up to 2 billion people (the majority in the developing world). Some 85% of smallholder farms operate on no more than about 4 acres (1.6 hectares) of land. Yet, these small-scale operations occupy about 60% of the world’s arable land. With such a significant presence it is obvious that small-scale, family, farming is very important not only to food provision, but also to ensuring biodiversity and the protection of natural resources. What is the future of the family farm?
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – commonly referred to as CAFOs – have become an important, if not controversial, component of industrial farming throughout the world. CAFOs are often praised for the efficient way in which animals can be raised, slaughtered, and their protein delivered to a hungry world. But they also raise concerns about environmental pollution and, in particular, animal cruelty. What do we know about CAFOs? Are they the future of animal protein production, or will they be irrelevant in a world of test-tube meat? Continue reading
‘Landgrabbing’ is occupying the minds of rural sociologists throughout the world.
How should we interpret the phenomenon of large-scale land acquisitions that are occurring, with increased frequency, in both developing and developed nations?
The XIII World Congress of Rural Sociology, held in Lisbon, Portugal, in July/August this year, was addressed by Professor Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
De Schutter’s mandate, as described by the UN Human Right’s Council is to:
To access Professor De Schutter’s talk at the Rural Sociology Congress, please visit: http://www.sendspace.com/file/hh1w70