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Nostalgia versus Pragmatism? How attitudes and interests shape the term sustainable agriculture in Switzerland and New Zealand


  • Aerni, Philipp
  • Rae, Allan
  • Lehmann, Bernard


National public debates on sustainable agriculture are often framed by the respective attitudes and interests of the dominant stakeholders involved. The objective of this study is to analyse the public debates on sustainable agriculture in Switzerland and New Zealand by means of two stakeholder surveys. The analysis of the questionnaire data revealed that Swiss stakeholders favor a value-based approach to sustainable agriculture whereas their counterparts in New Zealand tend to endorse an innovation-based approach. Moreover, the policy network analysis showed that the public debate in New Zealand is dominated by stakeholders involved in R&D activities whereas advocacy groups, retailers and regulatory agencies tend to be the central players in the Swiss debate. These findings help to explain the more defensive approach to sustainable agriculture in Switzerland and highlight the importance of stakeholder interests in the shaping of the domestic agenda in agricultural policy. While the Swiss approach tends to be more in accordance with the conventional legal principles of sustainable development, the New Zealand approach may turn out to be more effective in addressing the future challenges of sustainable agriculture.

Suggested Citation

  • Aerni, Philipp & Rae, Allan & Lehmann, Bernard, 2009. "Nostalgia versus Pragmatism? How attitudes and interests shape the term sustainable agriculture in Switzerland and New Zealand," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 227-235, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:34:y:2009:i:2:p:227-235

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kahneman, Daniel & Ritov, Ilana & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Economic Preferences or Attitude Expressions?: An Analysis of Dollar Responses to Public Issues," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 203-235, December.
    2. Mandel, Naomi & Johnson, Eric J, 2002. " When Web Pages Influence Choice: Effects of Visual Primes on Experts and Novices," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(2), pages 235-245, September.
    3. Aerni, Philipp & Bernauer, Thomas, 2006. "Stakeholder attitudes toward GMOs in the Philippines, Mexico, and South Africa: The issue of public trust," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 557-575, March.
    4. Harald Grethe, 2007. "The challenge of integrating EU and Turkish agricultural markets and policies," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(4/5), pages 440-459.
    5. Belk, Russell W & Wallendorf, Melanie & Sherry, John F, Jr, 1989. " The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-38, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrej Lange & Rosemarie Siebert & Tim Barkmann, 2015. "Sustainability in Land Management: An Analysis of Stakeholder Perceptions in Rural Northern Germany," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-22, January.
    2. Kevin Kane & Codrin Chiru & Stela Georgiana Ciuchete, 2012. "Exploring the Eco-attitudes and Buying Behaviour of Facebook Users," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 14(31), pages 157-171, February.


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