The Evolution of the Common Agricultural Policy and Social Differentiation in Rural Ireland
This paper investigates the contribution of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the process of social differentiation in contemporary rural Ireland. It traces the evolution of the CAP from its inception in 1962, and evaluates the social implications of two rounds of CAP reform and the recent introduction of agri-environmental schemes. It is argued that the underlying productivist rationale of the CAP has exacerbated the marginalisation of smaller farmers, especially in marginal areas. The recent introduction of the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) has cast these farmers in the role of environmental managers, while productivist agriculture continues unabated in other regions of the country.
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