FARM HOUSEHOLD BEHAVIOUR AND THE TRANSITION TO POST-PRODUCTIVISM

Authors

  • M. Shucksmith

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    • *Dr Mark Shucksmith is a Reader in Land Economy at the University of Aberdeen. This is a revised version of a paper given at the Agricultural Economics Society annual conference at Oxford. The paper derives from research funded by the EC Commission, the HIDB and the SDA. In Britain this research was undertaken by Mark Shucksmith and Richard Smith (Grampians; NW Sutherland); and Michael Winter (Mid and East Devon); and Terry Marsden (Buckinghamshire). The author would like to thank Joanna Gilliatt, Liz Hawkins and Niall Mackinnon for assistance with data analysis, and John Bryden, Vera Herrmann, Pavel Uttitz, Fernand Veuthey and all the other participants in the Arkleton research programme for their comments and suggestions. As usual, the author alone is reponsible for any errors.


Abstract

This paper proposes a theoretical framework for examining how farm households will respond to the reversal of productivist farm policies and applies this to a longitudinal study of farm households in upland Scotland over the period 1987-91. The paper argues that the actions of farm households may be understood not only in terms of their structural situation but also as an expression of the values and motivations which underlie behaviour (their disposition-to-act). A model is proposed, in which a farm household's disposition-to-act interacts with the internal resources of the farm and household, and with the external context (markets, policies, social and cultural values), in influencing behaviour. Empirically, this model is then used to explore changing farm structures, changing allocations of labour, changing sources of farm household income, and engagement with policy measures among a sample of 300 upland farm households. The results suggest that there will be considerable diversity in farm household behaviour during the transition to post-productivism, with widespread reluctance to adjust to the new imperatives.

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