“Rural sustainability in the urban century”
XV World Congress of Rural Sociology, 8-12 July 2020, Cairns, Australia
Whose versions of sustainability count in the urban century? How does spatial disadvantage intersect with injustices based on gender, ethnic, linguistic, religious and other dimensions of social difference? What opportunities do flows of people, capital, information and commodities between urban and rural spaces present for sustainable rural development?
More information available on the congress website.
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).
The University of Guelph announces a Chair in Food, Policy and Society
Well-known European rural sociologist, Professor Charalambos Kasimis, has been appointed Secretary General of Agricultural Policy & Management of European Funds in the Greek government. He is the third in line in the hierarchy of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, after the Minister and the Deputy Minister. He will play an important role in shaping agricultural and rural policy at a critical time for the Greek economy. Professor Kasimis’ brief biography is provided, below.
Charalambos Kasimis is Professor of Rural Sociology at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development of the Agricultural University of Athens and Director of the Postgraduate Studies MSc. Programme “Integrated Rural Development and Management of Rural Space” (2010-2014). He has served as a member of staff at the Department of Economics of the University of Patras (1986-2003) and as the Director of the Institute of Urban and Rural Sociology at the National Centre for Social Research of Greece (1995-2000). His research interests focus upon issues of rural transformation and development in Greece, the Balkans and the Mediterranean region – especially in regard to family farming, employment and rural change. In past years, the implications of international immigration on rural regions have become one of his main research foci. More recently, he has turned his attention to the study of the implications of the economic crisis upon the rural regions of Greece.
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?