Sociology of Sustainable Agriculture

Ezatollah Karami and Marzieh Keshavarz

Abstract Sustainability is the core element of government policies, university research projects, and extension organizations worldwide. Yet, the results of several decades of attempt to achieve sustainable agriculture have not been satisfactory. Despite some improvement conventional agriculture is still the dominant paradigm. Pollution of water, soil, and air, degradation of environmental resources, and loss of biodiversity are still the by-product of agricultural systems. In light of these crises, based on review of current literature, it is argued that in promoting sustainable agriculture our perception should shift from a technocratic approach to a social negotiation process that reflects the social circumstances and the power conditions. Agriculture should be regarded as an activity of human; therefore, it is social as much as it is agronomic and ecological. Therefore, here we explore the contribution of sociology toward achieving agricultural sustainability. The review reveals that agricultural sustainability can no longer ignore the human dimension and social dynamics that are the core elements of agricultural development. Although the agricultural and ecological sciences are vital, social sciences must play their role to analyze the human dimension, which is central to understanding and achieving agricultural sustainability. The contributions of sociology of sustainable agriculture are exploring the relationship between farmers' attitudes and their sustainable farming practices, understanding the gender impact, offering different sustainability paradigms, providing different models of predicting adoption of sustainable practices, and finally informing decision makers regarding the social impacts of their sustain-ability decisions. Major findings are discussed and appropriate recommendations are provided.

Keywords Sociology • Sustainable agriculture • Climate change • Attitude • Human dimension • Social construct • Culture • Behavior • Adoption

College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran e-mail: [email protected]

E. Lichtfouse (ed.), Sociology, Organic Farming, Climate Change and Soil Science, Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 3, DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-3333-8_2, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

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