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Multifunctionality of agriculture and rural areas as reflected in policies: The importance and relevance of the territorial view

Cairol D., Coudel E., Knickel K., Caron P., Kroger M.. 2009. Journal Environmental Policy Planning, 11 (4) : p. 269-289.

This introductory paper provides an overview of the emergence of the concept of 'the multifunctionality of agriculture and rural areas', with particular emphasis on its historical and research dimensions and how it is interrelated with the notion of 'territory'. The paper is based on a state-of-the-art review of the different conceptualizations of the multifunctionality of agriculture and rural areas in policy related discourses. It examines how the concept of multifunctionality was taken on board and operationalized, in scientific analyses, strategic policy analysis and evaluation. In this special issue we focus on policy related analyses and discourses and the related analytical frameworks. We argue that scientific research should dissociate itself from political and interest driven discourses where multifunctionality tends to be primarily defined in economic terms (with a focus on the difference between private and public goods terms), and instead treat multifunctionality as a valuable conceptual framework. This paper emphasizes the important analytical and strategic links between multifunctionality and sustainability. In so doing it also closely links the notions of territory and territorial development with those of multifunctionality and sustainability. The adoption of a wider territorial development perspective has several implications in terms of governance and policies and these will be discussed. Theoretical and empirical gaps relating to these issues are identified, some of which are addressed in the other papers within this special issue. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : développement agricole; développement rural; développement territorial; multifonctionnalité

Thématique : Economie et politique du développement; Economie et politique agricoles

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