Reminder – Vacancy Assistant Professor in Food Sociology (tenure track)

At the Rural Sociology Group we have a job opening for an Assistant Professor (tenure track position) in Food Sociology. As assistant professor you will undertake independent research and participate in international research projects focusing on the dynamics of food provisioning practices and processes and on the relations between food provisioning and sustainable rural and urban development. You will also teach and coordinate Bachelor and Master courses for the Bachelor and Master program International Development Studies (specialization Sociology of Development), the Master program Food Technology (specialization Gastronomy), and the Master program Organic Agriculture and supervise Master thesis research for these programs. Other aspects of the job include project acquisition, training and supervision of PhD students and participation in various research and/or education committees. About 45% of your time will be spent on education, 45% on research and the remaining 10% on a variety of activities within and outside the university.

For more information about the position (and the Rural Sociology Group) go to the vacancy page of Wageningen University or contact Prof.dr. Han Wiskerke (han.wiskerke@wur.nl). Candidates can apply for this position onlineThe deadline for application is Thursday 14 September 2017.

Kick-off Horizon 2020 project ROBUST

Recently a Horizon 2020 grant of € 6 million was awarded for a project entitled ‘Rural-Urban Outlooks: Unlocking Synergies’ (ROBUST). ROBUST has started on the 1st of June 2017 and is coordinated by Han Wiskerke of the Rural Sociology Group.

The overall goal of ROBUST is to a) advance our understanding of the interactions and dependencies between rural, peri-urban and urban areas, and b) identify and promote policies, governance models and practices that foster mutually beneficial relations.

The project focusses on five domains of urban-rural relations & interdependencies: 1) New businesses and labour markets; 2) Public infrastructures and social services; 3) Sustainable food systems, 4) Cultural connections, and 5) Ecosystem services. These domains will be studied in 11 place-based living labs: Ede (Netherlands), Tukums (Latvia), Helsinki (Finland), Mid-Wales (UK), Gloucestershire (UK), Frankfurt-Rhein-Main metropole (Germany), Ljubljana Urban Region (Slovenia), Styria (Austria), Valencia (Spain), Province of Lucca (Italy) and Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region (Portugal). Each Living Labs will focus on three domains of urban-rural relations. Domain-specific lessons and experiences will be shared across Living Labs in thematic Communities of Practice (five in total, each covering one of the aforementioned domains of urban-rural relations).

In each Living Lab a research organisation (university, research institute or consultancy firm) will collaborate with a local or regional authority. For the Dutch case the Rural Sociology Group will collaborate with Ede Municipality. In total the ROBUST consortium consists of 24 partners: 11 research organisations, 11 local or regional authorities and two umbrella organisations: the Peri-Urban Regions Platform Europe (PURPLE) and the European Secretariat of the International Network of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI Europe).

The kick-off meeting will take place on 7, 8 and 9 June in the Akoesticum in Ede. The website of the project is expected to be ready by September 2017. For more information about ROBUST, please contact one of the members of the RSO ROBUST team: Han Wiskerke, Henk Oostindie, Rudolf van Broekhuizen, Jessica Duncan and Bettina Bock.

Professor Bettina Bock asks “what future do we want for the country side?”

Dr. Bettina Bock from the Rural Sociology Group, also Professor of Population Decline and Quality of Life for the Northern Netherlands at Groningen University,  is in the news asking questions about the future of the Dutch country side. Check out here interview here: Bock Interview

Apologies but it is only available in Dutch.

Localizing Urban Food Strategies – Farming cities and performing rurality: call for abstracts for the 7th AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference

The 7th Aesop Sustainable Food Planning (SFP) Conference entitled “Localizing Urban Food Strategies: Farming cities and performing rurality” will take place in Torino (Italiy) from 7 to 9 October 2015.

Localizing urban food strategies refers to embedding sustainable food planning issues in place and in time within each specific local context. Moreover, by targeting planners, agronomists, designers, geographers, administrators, activists etc. engaged in the urban food debate, Farming cities and performing rurality aims at representing a platform for the development of fruitful perspectives for sustainable food planning policies and practices.

On the one hand, Farming cities refers to the development of innovative roles for agricultural production in and around the city, approaching in a structural manner the way agricultural issues are dealt (or should be dealt) with in contemporary urban policies. On the other hand, Performing rurality considers urban food strategies as a tool to define a cooperating relationship between the urban and the rural, reversing in terms of equality the traditional ideological subordination of the countryside to the city.

The activities of the Conference will be articulated around the following tracks: (i) Spatial planning and urban design, (ii) Governance and private entrepreneurship, (iii) Relevant experiences and practices, (iv) Training and jobs, (v) Flows and networks. There will be a specific activity for PhD students and young scholars.

Abstracts for one of the aforementioned tracks can be submitted until the 31st of May via the submission form on the conference website.

Family Farming Futures – PhD-thesis by Henk Oostindie

Cover FFF

March 20, 2015 at 1.30 pm Henk Oostindie will publicly defend his PhD-thesis Familiy Farming Futures. Agrarian pathways to multifunctionality: flows of resistance, redesign and resilience‘ in the Auditorium of Wageningen University. The defence ceremony will be streamed live by WURTV but can be viewed later as well. A hard copy of the thesis can be ordered by sending an email to Henk.Oostindie@wur.nl or a pdf can be downloaded from Wageningen Library (embargo untill March 20).

The PhD-thesis compiles different national and European research projects on multifunctionality and multifunctional agriculture Henk Oostindie was involved since 1999. He has thus gained both a broad and profound knowledge of multifunctionality as a concept and as practice. He is a highly esteemed colleague at our Rural Sociology group.

International Master Sciences of Rural Development (IMRD) – Application open till March 15 2015

IMRD Programme

IMRD Programme

Wageningen University is partner is the International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD) and providing an advanced module in Sociology of Rural Development in the 3rd semester.  Students can subsequently do their MSc-thesis in Wageningen. Till March 15 2015 students can apply for a scholarship. See the IMRD website for more information.

Rural Development and the Construction of New Markets – newly published book

Rural Development and the Construction of New Markets,  edited by Paul Hebinck, Sergio Schneider and Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, has just been published in the Routledge ISS Studies in Rural Livelihoods.  The book can be purchased here.

This book focuses on empirical experiences related to market development, and specifically new markets with structurally different characteristics than mainstream markets. Europe, Brazil, China and the rather robust and complex African experiences are covered to provide a rich multidisciplinary and multi-level analysis of the dynamics of newly emerging markets.

Rural Development and the Construction of New Markets analyses newly constructed markets as nested markets. Although they are specific market segments that are nested in the wider commodity markets for food, they have a different nature, different dynamics, a different redistribution of value added, different prices and different relations between producers and consumers. Nested markets embody distinction viz-a-viz the general markets in which they are embedded. A key aspect of nested markets is that these are constructed in and through social struggles, which in turn positions this book in relation to classic and new institutional economic analyses of markets. These markets emerge as steadily growing parts of the farmer populations are dedicating their time, energy and resources to the design and production of new goods and services that differ from conventional agricultural outputs. The speed and intensity with which this is taking place, and the products and services involved, vary considerably across the world. In large parts of the South, notably Africa, farmers are ‘structurally’ combining farming with other activities. By contrast, in Europe and large parts of Latin America farmers have taken steps to generate new products and services which exist alongside ongoing agricultural production. This book not only discusses the economic rationales and dynamics for these markets, but also their likely futures and the threats and opportunities they face.

Table of Contents: 1.The construction of new, nested markets and the role of development policies 2. Newly emerging, nested markets: a theoretical introduction 3. The construction of nested markets 4. Family farming, institutional markets and innovations in public policy in Brazil 5. Self-labelling, certification and alternative marketing networks in Brazil 6. Rural tourism in China and the construction of new markets 7. Multi-level rural governance performances and the unfolding of nested rural markets in Europe 8. Smallholder irrigators and fresh produce street traders in Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa 9. Beyond land transfers: the dynamics of socially driven markets emerging from Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Programme 10. In the shadow of global markets for fish in Lake Victoria Tanzania 11. Reconsidering the contribution of nested markets to rural development.

 

 

 

From production-oriented farming towards multifunctional entrepreneurship – PhD-thesis Pieter Seuneke

Multifunctional agriculture

 

On the 9th of May, I (Pieter Seuneke) will defend my PhD-thesis entitled:

From production-oriented farming towards multifunctional entrepreneurship: exploring the underlying learning process

Context

My thesis focusses on the many European and Dutch farming families which, urged by the environmental, social and economic crisis in agriculture, have diversified their conventional production-oriented farming activities by developing new non-farming businesses on their existing farms. Currently, there are many farmers who are involved in agro-tourism, nature and landscape management, processing and selling of farm products and, more recently in The Netherlands, professional (child)care and on-farm education. The development of such new business activities by these farmers represents a shift away from conventional production-oriented farming towards a more ‘multifunctional’ farming model in which the role of agriculture goes beyond mass food production.

Focus

Based on four different studies, all drawing on the empirical work done in the context of the Dutch research project ‘Dynamics and Robustness of Multifunctional Agriculture’ (carried out by the Rural Sociology Group from 2009 to 2011), I unravel the learning process which is considered as underlying the switch towards multifunctionality and multifunctional entrepreneurship. In other words: the process by which farmers (men, women and their families) re-invent themselves as ‘multifunctional entrepreneurs’, gain the necessary knowledge, skills and networks ‘to do multifunctionality’ as well as finding their way on the multifunctional pathway. Apart from its contribution to theory – by bringing this complex learning process to light – my work ultimately supports practitioners (teachers, trainers, advisers) in fostering this, for today’s and tomorrow’s agriculture and rural areas, valuable form of agricultural entrepreneurship.

Supervision

During my PhD, I have been supervised by Prof. Han Wiskerke (professor of Rural Sociology at Wageningen University) and Dr Thomas Lans (ass. prof. Education and Competence Studies, Wageningen University).

The defence

My defence will take place on Friday the 9th of May, at 13.30, in the Aula of Wageningen University. The event is open to those who are interested and can also be followed/seen back on WURtv.

Contact

For more information: pieter.seuneke@wur.nl

Declarations by The International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC)

The International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) is an autonomous and self-organised global platform of small-scale food producers and rural workers organizations and grass root/community based social movements to advance the Food Sovereignty agenda at the global and regional level.

More than 800 organizations and 300 millions of small-scale food producers self organize themselves through the IPC, sharing the Food Sovereignty principles as outlined in the Nyeleni 2007 Declaration + 6 pillars of the synthesis report IPC facilitates dialogue and debate among actors from civil society, governments and others actors the field of Food Security and Nutrition, creating a space of discussion autonomous from political parties, institutions, governments and private sector.

The IPC recently published several declarations on food sovereignty for Europe, Asia and Africa. See the IPC weblog for more information or Facebook page IPC for Food Sovereignty 

 

Theoretical approaches to the ecologisation of agrifood systems – European Society of Rural Sociology 2014 Summerschool

Transitions towards more sustainable agrifood systems and rural landscapes are at the core of societal demands, technological but also social innovations and renewed public policies at various scales. In rural sociology they are addressed through different theoretical frameworks and the main objective of the ESRS PhD Summer School this year, is to discuss these competing and sometimes articulated frameworks and thereby to help the PhD students to clarify their own theoretical choices and to position them in relation to other theoretical frameworks that are used in rural sociology. For students who are rather at the beginning of their PhD, the aim will be to help them organize their state of the art and clarify their problematisation, while for students who are more advanced, it would rather be a discussion of their results in the light of existing literature and/or possibly the preparation of a future article. All the participants should have an interest in the theoretical frameworks that will be structuring the discussion, i.e. mainly Socio-Ecological Systems/Resilience theories, Food Regime Theory, Transition Theories, Actor Network Theory, and Social Studies of Science and Knowledge. Continue reading