University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Conceptualizing Agriculture: a Critique of Post-Productivism as the New Orthodoxy

Evans, Nick, Morris, C. and Winter, M. (2002) Conceptualizing Agriculture: a Critique of Post-Productivism as the New Orthodoxy. Progress in Human Geography, 26 (3). pp. 313-332. ISSN 0309-1325

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It has become fashionable to conceptualize recent shifts in agrarian priorities as a ‘postproductivist’ transition from a previously ‘productivist’ agriculture. This notion became more popular throughout the 1990s as a way to capture in one convenient package the complex changes experienced by both the agricultural sector specifically and within rural areas more generally. However, the widespread and uncritical use of such an all-encompassing term is rather surprising given debates elsewhere in human geography on the rejection of dualistic thinking. Yet, in agricultural and rural studies, the active creation and reinforcement of a productivist/ post-productivist dualism has emerged as a means of explaining the uneven development of rural areas. This paper develops a critique of post-productivism to demonstrate its invalidity, presenting empirical evidence to refute five supposed characteristics relating to quality food, pluriactivity, sustainability, production dispersion and regulation. It is argued that future progress in agricultural research will only be made if post-productivism is abandoned. Effort should be refocused upon understanding deeper processes underpinning agricultural change using existing theoretical perspectives developed in human geography but which lack application in the agricultural context. Ecological modernization is provided as a brief exemplar of how such progress may be achieved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agriculture, Rural Studies, Human Geography, Geography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Nick Evans
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2007 14:33
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2015 13:07

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