Comparing farming in China and Europe

I’m a PhD candidate from China Agricultural University. I have a major in rural development and management. Now I am a visiting researcher at the Rural Sociology Group for one year and I like it very much. Each eduaction period I attend one or two courses.

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Chinese farm

Recently, I wrote an article about a Chinese farmer’s note book, with my supervisor prof. Jan Douwe van der Ploeg. I encountered this note book during my field work in Northeast China in July 2008. It’s been nearly three months since we began writing this article. Today, we finally finish the article, both in English and Chinese. In this farmer’s note book, monetary expenses and monetary entrances are all registered in a chronological order. Meanwhile, it also shows some of the networks the farm is embedded in. We also make some comparisons between China and Holland (or Europe). The data show that there is considerable dynamism; they also make clear that basically we are dealing here with a peasant-like way of farming. The article concludes with an overview of the structure of the rural economy in this part of China. I will write more about that in later blogs.

To be honest, I think there are many research experiences in rural sociology we should learn from Wageningen, especially in the field of sociology of farming. At the same time, I mind to consider the differences in social context between Western countries and China. The main problems in rural China we concluded are about “farm, farmer and farming”, which are also the hot research topics in academic field. Take farmer for example: there are about 0.73 billion of people living in rural area, but they don’t have enough land to sustain their livelihood, so many farmers go to urban as migrant workers and leave their family members home. These family members are left-behind population. My college members did a lot research on this group of people. As for my PhD thesis, I focus on applying the social capital theory in the context of rural China. To quote Jan Douwe van der Ploeg: “the theories are not in the air, they are in the people’s everyday life”. I will this mind during my research.

One thought on “Comparing farming in China and Europe

  1. It was a nice surprise to find your information about the article with Jan Douwe, who had already told me you were working on it. If you need an insider/outsider comment on it then please send me a copy.

    I will be in Wageningen for a PhD defence on the 3rd June. Hope to see you then. I then travel to Beijing in early July.

    Best wishes, Norman Long

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