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«Wir sind nicht arm»! Diskursive Konstruktionen von Armut von Schweizer Bauernfamilien


  • Sandra Contzen

    (Berner Fachhochschule, Hochschule für Agrar-, Forst- und Lebensmittelwissenschaften HAFL)


Although poverty among Swiss farm families is not a new issue, talking about it might still be considered as a taboo, not only in the farmer’s community but also in political discussions. This paper draws on qualitative empirical evidence, which shows that farm families in precarious living conditions tend to deal as long as possible with their situations on their own and only in the very end make use of social assistance. The paper aims at understanding this finding. To do so, it sheds light on how members of seven farm families of the Swiss German part, who live in poverty or precarious situations, perceive their situation and how they position themselves with regard to poverty. The paper suggests that the predominant political discourse and the disassociation from poverty of members of farm families, prevents them to ask for professional help. Changing the political discourse, i.e. acknowledging the existence of poverty among farm families, could support pro-active strategies of farm families living in poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandra Contzen, 2015. "«Wir sind nicht arm»! Diskursive Konstruktionen von Armut von Schweizer Bauernfamilien," Journal of Socio-Economics in Agriculture (Until 2015: Yearbook of Socioeconomics in Agriculture), Swiss Society for Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, vol. 8(1), pages 60-69.
  • Handle: RePEc:cha:ysa001:v:8:y:2015:i:1:p:60-69

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Miriam Teschl & Flavio Comim, 2005. "Adaptive Preferences and Capabilities: Some Preliminary Conceptual Explorations," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 229-247.
    2. Federica Misturelli & Claire Heffernan, 2011. "The language of poverty: an exploration of the narratives of the poor," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 206-222, May/June.
    3. Eric Crettaz & Christian Suter, 2013. "The Impact of Adaptive Preferences on Subjective Indicators: An Analysis of Poverty Indicators," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 139-152, October.
    4. Federica Misturelli & Claire Heffernan, 2010. "The concept of poverty," Progress in Development Studies, , vol. 10(1), pages 35-58, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandra Contzen & Jérémie Forney, 2017. "Family farming and gendered division of labour on the move: a typology of farming-family configurations," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 34(1), pages 27-40, March.
    2. Oliver Hümbelin, 2016. "Nichtbezug von Sozialhilfe: Regionale Unterschiede und die Bedeutung von sozialen Normen," University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers 21, University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences, revised 26 Oct 2016.

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    More about this item


    Swiss Farm Families; Poverty; Social assistance; Discourses;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy; Animal Welfare Policy
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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