This paper has evolved out of a growing dissatisfaction with the relatively uncritical acceptance in contemporary debates that agriculture in advanced societies has moved from ‘productivism’ to ‘post‐productivism’. A brief review of current conceptualizations of productivist and post‐productivist agricultural regimes reveals inconsistencies in current understandings these dualistic terms. The problem has partly been that the conceptual literature on post‐productivism has largely failed to take into account the wealth of actor‐oriented and behaviourally grounded research. Productivist and post‐productivist agricultural regimes have also been conceptualized from a UK‐centric perspective that has largely failed to discuss whether the concept has wider applicability within Europe and beyond. The paper discusses the time‐lag and spatial inconsistencies in the adoption of post‐productivist action and thought, and emphasizes that different localities are positioned at different points in a temporal, spatial and conceptual transition from ‘pre‐productivist’ to ‘post‐productivist’ agricultural regimes. The notion of the ‘territorialization’ of productivist and post‐productivist actor spaces highlights the wide‐ranging diversity that exists within the productivist/post‐productivist spectrum, and that productivist and post‐productivist action and thought occurs in multidimensional coexistence leads one to question the implied directionality of the traditional productivist/post‐productivist debate. It is suggested that the notion of a ‘multifunctional agricultural regime’ better encapsulates the diversity, non‐linearity and spatial heterogeneity that can currently be observed in modern agriculture and rural society.
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 2001
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