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

Conference: Ruralidades en América Latina: convergencias, disputas y alternativas en el siglo XXI

The Latin American Rural Sociology Association (ALASRU) would like to remind rural sociologists everywhere of its upcoming conference to be held from November 25th through the 30th in Montevideo, Uruguay. More information about the conference can be found at

ALASRU is also the proud publisher of the Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Rurales. This journal is published on-line and the most recent issue can be found at

Invitation to the 2020 World Congress of Rural Sociology

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?

As a delegate to the 2020 World Congress of Rural Sociology you will consider these and many other questions relevant to contemporary rural society.

Our venue, Cairns, sits on the traditional country of the Gimuy Yidinji and Yirrigandji peoples. Sandwiched between two World Heritage Areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforests of Tropical North Queensland – and with a vast rural hinterland, Cairns is a hub for tourism and tropical agriculture at the heart of the Asia Pacific.

For information on key dates, session and paper submissions, travel and accommodation, registration and tours, check the Congress website.

President’s Corner: Towards Construction of Social and Sustainable Science

By Koichi Ikegami, President of IRSA

I attended the International Conference on ‘Social and Sustainability Science ASEAN 2018: Agri-Food Systems and Rural Sustainability’ at Chulalongkorn University on 23-25 of January 2018. I was invited as President of IRSA. I had a keynote speech entitled as Ensuring Rural Sustainability in the Unequal Worlds. Major points of my speech were as follows; 1) Major Issues in the 21st Century such as Structuration of the North South Problem, Casino Capitalism or Speculative Capitalism, and Global Warming and Climate Change, 2) Flat World, but Unequal World: Other Side of Globalization, 3) Background of Rise of Alternative Movement , 4)Two Examples of alternative movement: Fair Trade and Creation of FEC Sufficient Territory in Higashi-Oumi city, Japan, 5)‘Mura’ Business: Model of Small Business of Village, by Village and for Village. Of course, I mentioned about next World Congress of IRSA, and asked that most of participants there would come to join us in 2020.

On the following day after Conference, I was also asked to give a mini lecture for establishing MOST School. Required theme is “Rural sustainability and contemporary social science approaches”. I did not realize what MOST meant until that time. It was a very new idea for me. MOST is a UNESCO’s intergovernmental science programme on social transformations. As for this regard, it is important to identify to what direction society transforms. The answer is towards sustainable society.

The both events were organized by Chulalongkorn University and UNESCO. There were lots of participants from ASEAN countries. One of my major impressions was that ASEAN countries paid strong attentions to sustainability. One of reasons for such attraction might be adoption of SDGs in 2015 as well as reflection of the results by development-oriented policies.

SDGs include not only poverty and hunger but also gender and partnership as well as sustainable agriculture. It is uncommon in Japan that the so-called Developed Countries such as Japan are involved in SDGs. One example indicates this fact very well, that a mayor of a city in Shiga Prefecture claimed strongly the SDGs-oriented policy by Prefecture Office of Shiga according to his understanding that SDGs addressed only Developing Countries.
It is an urgent task to build sustainable science in social science. I am strongly confident that rural sociology can contribute to accomplishing this task.