The article examines developments and challenges faced by both anthropologists and rural communities since the 1960s. It argues that a shift in methodological and thematic terms has occurred, raising a number of issues for the establishment of a research agenda on the anthropology of Europe. The most important shift concerns the recon figuration of rural Europe, from the farm or village to more 'complex' social settings in which the presence of the state, bureaucracies, new social actors and markets are integrated into local phenomena. Attached to this rescaling is the issue of how anthropologists define their fieldwork and the objects of their study. Finally, heritage and conservation, which are at the heart of the process of a European core identity and of a European rural imaginary, provide a new critical framework to think about the connection between local concerns and global changes.
Global Concerns, Local Responses in EU Agriculture
A Sri Lankan Village Case Study
As the impacts of climate change are expected to increase, there is growing concern in development contexts over how best to assist the poor and vulnerable to adapt to such changes whilst ensuring environmental and livelihood security. Climate variability is a persistent and progressively more worrying feature in the everyday lives of individuals and communities in rural areas around the world and there is a pressing need for comprehensive knowledge of the complex relationships between humans, and between them and their environment. Thus there is a growing movement towards bridging the gap between top-down decision-making and more grassroots approaches that encompass local knowledge and experiences. Drawing upon fieldwork in Sri Lanka, this article examines the potential of taking an indigenous knowledge research (IKR) approach to understanding local adaptation to climate change, specifically how local people are adapting their livelihood strategies to what they perceive to be increasing variability in weather patterns. It also explores the prospect of indigenous knowledge networks as vehicles for rapidly sharing information and building links between policy making and local reality.
This thought piece reflects on the workings of modern migration through the prism of metabolism. It contends that the metabolic idiom productively underscores how migration as a process is enabled and evoked by particular flows of materials and energy and how the movement of migrants engenders social and environmental transformations.
Neoliberal industrialization and the politics of land and work in rural West Bengal
This article seeks to understand why both anti-land acquisition protests and proindustrial rhetoric of provincial governments in India are fodder for populist politics. To understand this, the article explores the meanings that land and development have for the rural communities in West Bengal, India, who are trying to straddle the multiple worlds of farm ownership and nonfarm employment. Based on five years of ethnographic fieldwork in various parts of rural West Bengal, this article argues that resistances to corporate globalization, taken to be unambiguously anti-industrial or anticapitalist, reflect complex intentions. Protesting villagers are ambivalent toward corporate capital, but their support for industries and protests against corporations are grounded in local moral worlds that see both nonfarm work and landownership as markers of critical social distinction.
Peasant Agroecological Systems as New Frontiers of Exploitation?
Anne Cristina de la Vega-Leinert and Peter Clausing
In view of the Aichi international policy targets to expand areas under conservation, we analyze to what extent conservation has become an inherent element of extraction. We scrutinize the Land Sparing versus Land Sharing debate by explicitly incorporating environmental justice issues of access to land and natural resources. We contend that dominant conservation regimes, embedded within Land Sparing, legitimize the displacement of local people and their land use to compensate for distant, unsustainable resource use. In contrast, the Land Sharing counternarrative, by promoting spatial integration of conservation in agroecological systems, has the potential to radically challenge extraction. Common ground emerges around the concept of sustainable intensification. We contend that if inserted in green economy’s technocentric and efficiency-oriented framework, sustainable intensification will contribute to undermining diversified peasant agroecological systems by transforming them into simplified, export-orientated ones, thereby stripping peasant communities of the capacity to provide for their own needs.
This article focuses on the economic aspects of German European policy in the 1950s and raises the question whether the economic system of the Federal Republic of Germany, “Soziale Marktwirtschaft” had any impact on the European policy of the West German state. It argues that Social Market Economy as defined by Ludwig Erhard influenced German European policy in certain aspects, but there was a latent contradiction between the political approach of Konrad Adenauer and this economic concept. Moreover, this article shows that West German European policy was not always as supportive for European unity as it is often considered.
This article questions the conceptualization of the 1930s Soviet rural mass collectivization as an opposition of 'private versus collective'. Instead a 'private-in-the-collective' (sovkhoist) approach is suggested, stemming from the essentially compromised nature of mass collectivization and offering a better key for understanding of current post-Soviet processes. Archival evidence is used to demonstrate how altruistic versus acquisitive polarities formed a major ideological debate in the 1920s and were gradually resolved as a 'private-in-the-collective' compromise in the collectivization decade. It is suggested that northern reindeer husbandry in the Russian Subarctic presents the private-in-the-collective compromise through the long-standing practice of grazing personal (private) deer mixed with the public herd. The empirical data presented in this article has been collected during fieldwork with reindeer-herding teams in the Kola Peninsula, Northwest Russia since 1995.
Attila Tóth, Barbora Duží, Jan Vávra, Ján Supuka, Mária Bihuňová, Denisa Halajová, Stanislav Martinát and Eva Nováková
Allotment gardens have played a significant role in Czech and Slovak society for decades, building upon a rich history of gardening. This article elaborates on Czech and Slovak allotments in the European context and identifies their core functions, services, and benefits. We provide a thorough historical review of allotments in this region, reaching back to the eighteenth century to trace significant periods and historic events that shaped society in general and urban gardening in particular. We analyze the development of allotments until and after 1989 and illustrate key aspects of their present situation using case studies and examples. The article provides a complex historical narrative as a good basis for discussions on contemporary trends, challenges, and visions for the future of urban allotment gardening in both countries.
James C. Van Hook
Economics and economic history have a fundamental role to play in our understanding of Cold War Germany. Yet, it is still difficult to establish concrete links between economic phenomena and the most important questions facing post 1945 historians. Obviously, one may evaluate West Germany's “economic miracle,” the success of western European integration, or the end of communism in 1989 from a purely economic point of view. To achieve a deeper understanding of Cold War Germany, however, one must evaluate whether the social market economy represented an adequate response to Nazism, if memory and perspective provided the decisive impulse for European integration, or if the Cold War ended in Europe because of changes in western nuclear strategy. Economic history operates in relation to politics, culture, and historical memory. The parameters for economic action are often as determined by the given political culture of the moment, as they are by the feasibility of alternative economic philosophies.
Remaking Rural Landscapes in Twenty-first Century Europe
The management of agriculture has long played a key role in efforts to remake European borders, landscapes and identities. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been a centerpiece of European collaboration and debate since the first steps were taken to establish the European Community after the Second World War. Launched by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, it was first designed to regulate the agricultural market and protect food security across the original six member states of France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. With successive European enlargements and ongoing transformations in the world agricultural markets, the CAP has been in continual negotiation.