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Sustainable rural livelihoods to analyse family farming dynamics: A comparative perspective

Bosc P.M., Sourisseau J.M.. 2019. Natural Resource Economics Review : p. 35-49. Workshop on Study of Family-run Farming, 2015-03-20, Kyoto (Japon).

The very nature of family farming makes it a complex scientific subject, being at the same time a social form of production and an economic agent. Its nature challenges disciplines that most of the time overlook dimensions that do not fit in with their own framework leading to partial views in anthropology, sociology, political science or economics, just to mention the most common disciplinary focus on rural societies. We suggest exploring the well-known Sustainable Rural Livelihood framework as a comprehensive and open conceptual design to address the evolution of family farming. While the entry point concerns individuals, it also considers the social structures and institutions in which they are embedded. It also contemplates natural, social and human assets in addition to physical and financial ones. The activity system developed by each individual within its social setting goes beyond sectorial approaches; the strategies developed are contextualized and influenced by policies. To illustrate how this framework can be implemented, we developed a case study approach in contrasting rural contexts ranging from Argentina, Brazil or Nicaragua for Latin American situations, to Indonesia, China or India for Asia, or to Mali, Cameroon or Mozambique for African illustrations. The cases will not be extensively presented here as we choose to highlight some of the main findings and crosscutting themes as ways and means of adapting to changing contexts. We also discuss the challenges and perspectives faced by family farming from other forms of production and provide some insight into "blind" issues: the social drawbacks and political dimensions linked to agriculture related to broader territorial and national concerns.

Mots-clés : méthodologie; Étude de cas; niveau de vie; agriculture familiale; exploitation agricole familiale; mozambique; cameroun; mali; chine; indonésie; nicaragua; brésil; argentine; développement territorial

Thématique : Systèmes et modes de culture; Sociologie rurale et sécurité sociale; Economie et politique du développement

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