The Sociology of Agriculture and Food (1950s -2010s): A View from the North

Alessandro Bonanno


This article reviews the evolution and salient characteristics of the substantive academic area of Sociology of Agriculture and Food (SAF). Employing the activities of the International Sociological Association (ISA) Research Committee on Sociology of Agriculture and Food (RC-40) as an empirical indicator of the evolution of this sub-discipline of sociology, the article illustrates SAF’s origins and growth. It reviews key historical events that led to its current status. It also analyses the theoretical approaches that define this substantive area through the review of the production of salient SAF researchers. Created in the 1970s, SAF evolved from a group concerned with the study of agriculture and rural communities to a network of scholars interested in the analysis of agriculture and food as part of the broader expansion of social relations at the global level. The article reviews the early stages of SAF in the 1950s and 1960s, its establishment in the 1970s and development and further growth in the following decades. A discussion on salient empirical findings and theoretical positions completes the review of the characteristic of SAF. The conclusions point outthe sophisticated nature of the research and theories that characterized this substantive area of sociology.


sub-disciplines of sociology, agriculture and rural studies, agrifood research, socciology of agriculture and food theories

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