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Multiple Discourses on Crisis: Farm, Agricultural, and Rural Policy Implications


  • Kenneth C. Bessant


"The terms farm crisis, agricultural crisis, and rural crisis have been invoked in political and policy discourse to characterize significant disruptions in or threats to rural-farm livelihoods. Although these expressions reflect a general sense of concern over the state of agriculture and rural existence, they lack clear and concise meaning. Academic research and policy development are obfuscated by the lack of definitional consensus or, at minimum, some shared understanding of the core aspects of farm-related crisis. Much of the debate revolves around four main themes: farm financial difficulties (low or unstable incomes, indebtedness, and increasing reliance on nonfarm revenue), structural changes in agriculture (increasing scale, concentration, and consolidation), rural livelihoods (dwindling communities, institutions, and services), and international dimensions (market fluctuations, trade regulations, and disputes). The examination of these interrelated levels of analysis offers a valuable framework for interpreting the multifold contexts, meanings, and responses to crisis. This paper explores varied representations of farm-agricultural crisis, with particular emphasis on the presumed causes (or precipitating factors), conditions, and related policies and programs." Copyright 2007 Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth C. Bessant, 2007. "Multiple Discourses on Crisis: Farm, Agricultural, and Rural Policy Implications," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 55(4), pages 443-457, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:canjag:v:55:y:2007:i:4:p:443-457

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