Contesting the neoliberal project for agriculture: productivist and multifunctional trajectories in the European Union and Australia

Dibden, Jacqui, Potter, Clive, and Cocklin, Chris (2009) Contesting the neoliberal project for agriculture: productivist and multifunctional trajectories in the European Union and Australia. Journal of Rural Studies, 25 (3). pp. 299-308.

[img] PDF (Published Version)
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.200...

Abstract

The liberalisation of agricultural trade is strongly contested as an international policy project. In the context of the current World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha trade round, concerns revolve around the implications of freer trade for rural livelihoods and environments. Analysis of this complex and morally charged issue offers important insights into the nature of resistance to the neoliberal agenda. This resistance has been expressed in terms of perceived threats to the ‘multifunctionality’ of agriculture and its ability to provide public environmental and social benefits. We focus specifically on Australia and the European Union (EU), key players in the WTO process but diametrically opposed in their embrace of, or resistance to, agricultural neoliberalisation. While the EU has sought to maintain trade barriers in order to protect both marginal areas and the market advantages derived from a heavily-subsidised, productivist agriculture, Australia relies on ‘competitive productivism’ – unsubsidised, highly productive agriculture – to win markets. There is nevertheless evidence that the compatibility of market rule with agri-environmental (and, to a lesser extent, social) sustainability is being contested in both Australia and the EU, particularly at the regional scale. The nature and terms of this contestation are different, however, given the radically divergent macro-economic and socio-political contexts in which it is being framed. The debate about the socio-environmental implications of market opening within the agriculturally protectionist environment of the EU is largely anticipatory and risk-averting, while in the already market-exposed Australian context it is increasingly compensatory and harm-minimising. In this paper, we argue that neoliberalisation as a policy agenda is reshaped in different states and regions through processes of resistance and accommodation arising from particular geographical, historical, political and institutional contexts, and as a response to crises.

Item ID: 5652
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: multifunctionality; neoliberalism; productivism; resistance; trade liberalisation; Australia; Europe
Related URLs:
ISSN: 1873-1392
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2010 23:07
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160499 Human Geography not elsewhere classified @ 60%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy @ 20%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960705 Rural Land Policy @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960707 Trade and Environment @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960704 Land Stewardship @ 30%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 32
Downloads: Total: 8
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page