The Sociology of Agriculture

The Sociology of Agriculture

The Sociology of Agriculture

The Sociology of Agriculture

Synopsis

Published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rural Sociological Society, this monograph analyzes the nearly 90 years of rural sociological research on agriculture. The authors' aim throughout is to convey both continuities and discontinuities in theory, method, and approach that have characterized the field as it has developed. Intended primarily as a straightforward exposition of major scholarly themes, the study is organized around the three major eras of rural sociological research identified by the authors: the initial period from 1900 through the early 1950s; the social psychological/behaviorist emphasis between the early 1950s and the early 1970s, and the "new rural sociology" of the past decade.

Excerpt

The 50th anniversary of the Rural Sociological Society has come at a propitious time for the sociology of agriculture. The sociology of agriculture has been a recognized--and growing--field in rural sociology for nearly 15 years, which represents a sufficient span of time over which to take stock of the field in a 50th anniversary monograph.

As we emphasize several times, the "sociology of agriculture" is, in a sense, rural sociology's oldest specialty area at the same time that, to the best of our knowledge, the expression was never employed prior to the mid-1970s. There are a good number of continuities between early-twentieth-century rural sociology and what is now called the sociology of agriculture, perhaps to a far greater degree than most contemporary sociologists of agriculture have recognized. By the same token, there are very substantial differences between contemporary sociology of agriculture scholarship and that which preceded it. Our aim is to convey both continuities and discontinuities in theory, method, and approach.

Those who reviewed the initial drafts of the manuscript will note that it has shrunk, and then expanded, since it was presented in first draft at the annual meeting of the Rural Sociological Society in 1986 at Salt Lake City. Shifting exigencies of publication arrangements largely accounted for this unusual metamorphosis. We are nonetheless pleased to be able to publish an extended version of this monograph, since we feel its comprehensiveness will make it a more useful research and teaching resource.

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