Members of the IRSA board: Hugh Campbell

Professor Hugh Campbell is the Chair of Sociology at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. He is also a Visiting Professor at Ruralis, Trondheim, Norway, and Visiting Scholar at Kyoto University. He is interested in alternatives to mainstream farming practices, agri-food governance, de-colonial scholarship, agrarian extremism and gender dynamics in rural areas. From 2000-2010 he was full time Director of the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Otago, and took a leading role in a number of research projects into the dynamics of agri-environmental change in New Zealand. His current research activities involve: farming, colonisation and de-colonisation in New Zealand, the rise of agrarian extremism, climate change adaptation and farmers, and the implications of the rise of cultivated proteins for agri-food systems.

Members of the IRSA board: Joost Dessein

Prof. Joost Dessein (°1971) is Associate Professor (tenured) at the department of Agricultural Economics (Ghent University, Belgium), and an affiliated member of the Centre for Sustainable Development (Ghent University). He holds an Msc in Agricultural Engineering and a Msc and PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Joost is president of the European Society for Rural Sociology.

With colleagues of the research group INSPIRA (Institutional, Socio-economic and Political Issues in Rural-urban Areas) he focuses on the governance of local food system, and related themes such as social and environmental justice and food democracy. He also studies the political and epistemological context of agro-ecology and the role of different knowledge systems in the transitions of the food system. His research has a strong though not exclusive focus on the Global South.

Members of the IRSA board: Carla Gras

Carla Gras is Senior Researcher for the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research of Argentina (CONICET) in the Interdisciplinary School of Social Studies at the University of San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is Professor in the School of Sociology at the University of San Martín. Her research focuses on the political economy of agrarian change in Latin America with particular reference to Argentina. Her interests include agrarian class differentiation, agribusiness expansion, the financialization of farmland and agriculture, and corporate and family farming organizations. She has done research and fieldwork in the Pampa and Northwester regions of Argentina. She has been VicePresident of the Latin American Rural Sociology Association (ALASRU) between 2018-2022. At present, she is Associate Editor of the Journal of Agrarian Change.

Members of the IRSA board: Leif Jensen

Leif Jensen is Distinguished Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography at The Pennsylvania State University, USA. He received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Vermont and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His areas of specialization include demography, social stratification, and the sociology of economic change. His publications focus on a range of topics including poverty and inequality, underemployment and employment hardship, informal work, and immigration. In his international work he has studied children and youth, and gender and agriculture. Much of his scholarship focuses on rural people and places, and rural/urban differences. Over the years his research program has been supported by grants from the U.S. federal government and private foundations.

Members of the IRSA board: Myrian Paredes

Myriam Paredes is an Ecuadorian rural sociologist that works as a professor and researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Ecuador. Her teaching and research focusses on heterogeneity studies with feminist perspectives to understand the different faces of Food Sovereignty. Myriam has served as a member of the Latin American Rural Sociology association directorate as well as the co-organizer of the TIERRA group, a rural sociology studies organization of Ecuador. Current research includes leading the project “Evaluating and bringing to scale alternative food networks to address diabetes mellitus and hypertension” implemented by the consortium EKOMER formed by Montreal University, FLACSO and the NGO Ekorural. With her family Myriam runs an agroecological farm outside Quito and a delivery scheme similar to a CSA.

New IRSA board

A new IRSA board has been elected.

President: Sally Shortall, University of Newcastle
Treasurer: Raymond Jussaume, Michigan State University
– Leif Jensen, Pennsylvania State University
– Keiko Tanaka, University of Kentucky
– Jan Flora, Iowa State University
– Carla Gras, National University of General San Martín
– Sergio Schneider, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul,
– Myriam Paredes
– Dr Sarina Kilham, Charles Sturt University
– Dr Rudi Messner, Queensland University of Technology
– Prof Hugh Campbell, University of Otago
– Joost Dessein, University of Gent  
– Ruth McAreavey, University of Newcastle
– Ilona Matysiak, Maria Grzegorzewska University Warsaw
– Fatmanil Doner, Istanbul Medenyet University
– Francesca Galli, University of Pisa
– Motoki Akitsu, Kyoto University
– Lutgarda Tolentino, University of Queensland
– Muhammad Saleh S. Ali
– Koichi Igegami, Kindai University

Board member bios will be posted to the website.

Special Collection of essays on COVID-19, Agriculture and Food

The Editor-in-Chief of Agriculture and Human Values is very pleased to announce a Special Collection of essays on COVID-19, Agriculture, and Food, in Agriculture and Human Values.

This collection assembles in-the-moment essays and commentaries from over 120 scholars, authors, practitioners, farmers, activists, and analysts of agriculture and food systems around the world.  Please find attached the complete list of contributors, listed in alphabetical order (corresponding author last name) and titles of the essays in the Special Collection.  The list is prefaced by my brief editorial introduction.

I am very pleased to let you know that Springer has agreed to allow all articles in this collection to be freely available, for download and viewing, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can find the essays here (note there are four pages):

Statement on the 2021 XV World Congress of Rural Sociology

As previously announced, the IRSA Council recently decided unanimously to postpone the XV World Congress in Cairns due to COVID-19.  The XV World Congress is now scheduled for July 6th through the 10th of 2021 in Cairns, Australia. The venue remains the Pullman Cairns International Hotel.

We will maintain the basic program framework that was originally developed. All sessions and abstracts accepted for IRSA 2020 will be transferred to the provisional program for IRSA 2021. However, spaces will be available for additional oral presentations. We anticipate that the Congress organizers will be able to welcome new abstract submissions beginning June 30th.

We ask those who want to attend the Congress as a presenter to visit the Congress website at

The Congress website provides new time-lines for registration for those who have not registered yet and other important information such as for entry visas and ETAS, accommodations, and so on.

The spread of COVID-19 has highlighted various problems, which are hidden behind conventional socio-economic systems. As for agriculture and rural society, challenges such as vulnerability of current agri-food systems, social exclusion and prejudice to poor and essential workers, frowning on the weak, concentration of disasters or calamity just same as bioconcentration have all been made more apparent. COVID-19 is forcing us to reconsider relations between global and local, central governments and local governments, rural and urban societies. We need serious reflection and a bold transformation of conventional socio-economic systems, including agri-food systems, which until now have been based on the principles of efficiency and profit maximization through selection and concentration.

At the 2021 Congress, I am sure there will be a lot of studies about the impacts of COVID-19 and perspectives post or with new Corona virus. I hope for an aggressive discussion on these on-going issues in Cairns.

Koichi Ikegami

President of IRSA