Understanding the sociocultural processes that contribute to diversity and conformity among farmers in Australia, Finland and The Netherlands

Vanclay, F. & Silvasti, T., 1-Dec-2009, Beyond the Rural-Urban Divide: Cross-Continental Perspectives on the Differentiated Countryside and its Regulation. Andersson, K., Lehtola, M., Eklund, E. & Salmi, P. (eds.). Bingley: Emerald Insight, p. 151-167 17 p. (Research in Rural Sociology and Development; vol. 14).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Purpose: Using examples from Australia, Finland and The Netherlands, we describe the sociocultural processes that influence farmers. We outline the styles of farming approach as an explanation of diversity (heterogeneity) and the farming scripts approach as an explanation of conformity (continuity and tradition). Methodology: This chapter is a theoretical comparison that draws on earlier work of the authors. The research into styles of farming used focus groups and interviews, while the research on farming scripts is based on an analysis of biographies submitted for a national writing competition or gained by narrative interview. Findings: We argue that there are a number of farming scripts that may well be universal, at least within family farming in western cultures. We found that the concept of styles of farming is a useful heuristic device, but that it was difficult to use in practice to use to classify farmers. We conclude that both style and script are needed to account for the full range of sociocultural influences on farmers. Practical implications: Our chapter seeks to expand understanding of the social lives of farming families and to increase the realisation that farming is a sociocultural practice. Efforts to change agriculture need to be mindful of this fundamental dimension of farming practice if they are to be successful. Originality: The analysis we have undertaken is the only theoretical comparison of these approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeyond the Rural-Urban Divide
Subtitle of host publicationCross-Continental Perspectives on the Differentiated Countryside and its Regulation
EditorsKjell Andersson, Minna Lehtola, Erland Eklund, Pekka Salmi
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Insight
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781848551398
ISBN (Print)9781848551381
Publication statusPublished - 1-Dec-2009

Publication series

NameResearch in Rural Sociology and Development
ISSN (Print)1057-1922

ID: 102588925