This study investigates the socio-historical relationships existing between the development of the agricultural structure and the process of technical development. Adopting a political economy posture, it is argued that the development of technical procedures in agriculture has been aimed historically at the maximization of production and productivity. This phenomenon has been generated by the social hegemony of groups interested in the enhancement of accumulation of capital and has been translated into an emphasis on large productive units, which discriminates against small and medium farms. This pattern of development has been legitimized through a social consensus which involves an emphasis on small family producers. This contradiction is embodied in the generation of a dualistic agricultural structure characterized by the prosperity of large farms, the persistence of small farms and the crisis of medium farms and in patterns of overproduction and unavailability of food for the poor segments of society.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Beale, Calvin L. “People and Land.” In T. R. Ford (ed)Rural USA: Persistence and Change. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1978.
Bonanno, Alessandro. “Agricultural Policies and the Capitalist State.”Agriculture and Human Values 2/3 (Spring-Summer 1987) 40–46.
Bonanno, Alessandro.Small Farms: Persistence with Legitimation. Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, 1987.
Bonanno, Alessandro. “The Logic of Capitalist Accumulation Behind the Myth of the Family Farm.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society, Ithaca, N.Y., 1980.
Brodrick, George E.English Land and English Landlords. London: Ford, 1881.
Buttel, Frederick H. “Biotechnology and Public Agricultural Research Policy.” In James Rhodes (ed),Agricultural Science Policy in Transition. Columbia, Missouri: Agricultural Research Institute, 1986.
Buttel, Frederick H. “The Land-Grant System: A Sociological Perspective on Value Conflicts and Ethical Issues.”Agriculture and Human Values. 2(Spring 1985) 78–95.
Carnoy, Martin.The State and Political Theory. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984.
Commoner, Barry. “How Poverty Breeds Overproduction.”Ramparts. 13 (August–September 1975) 21–25.
Danbom, David B.The Resisted Revolution. Ames: The Iowa State University Press, 1979.
Dickson, David, B.The Politics of Alternative Technology. New York: Universe Books, 1979.
Dobb, Maurice.Studies in the Development of Capitalism. New York: International Publishers, 1947.
Friedland, William H., Amy Barton and Robert J. Thomas.Manufacturing Green Gold: The Conditions and Social Consequences of Lettuce Harvest Mechanization. Davis: University of California, 1978.
Gorz, André.Ecology as Politics. Boston: South End Press, 1980.
Habermas, Jurgen.Legitimation Crisis. Boston: Beacon Press, 1975.
Kautsky, Karl.Die Agrarfrage. Milan: Feltrinelli, 1971.
Lappé, Moore Francis and Joseph Collins.Food First: The Myth of Scarcity. New York: Ballantine, 1979.
Mann, Susan and J. Dickinson. “State and Agriculture in Two Eras of American Capitalism.” In F. Buttel and H. Newby (eds.).The Rural Sociology of Advanced Societies. Montclair, N.J.: Allanheld Osmun, 1979.
Mooney, Patrick H. “The Political Economy of Credit in American Agriculture.”Rural Sociology 4 (Winter, 1986), 449–470.
Mottura, Giovanni and Enrico Pugliese. “Capitalism in Agriculture and Capitalist Agriculture: The Italian Case.” In F. Buttel and H. Newby (eds.),The Rural Sociology of the Advanced Societies. Montclair, N.J.: Allanheld Osmun, 1979.
Mottura, Giovanni and Enrico Pugliese.Agricultura, Mezzogiorno e Mercato del Lavoro. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1975.
Murdoch, William M.The Poverty of Nations: The Political Economy of Hunger and Population. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980.
Nbabu, A. Nkonge. “Issues in Agricultural Policy in Kenya.” Department of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1985.
Noble, David F.America By Design. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.
OECD. “Issues and Challenges for OECD Agriculture in the 1980's.” Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 1984.
Offe, Claus.Contradictions of the Welfare State. John Keane (ed). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1984.
Swanson, Louis and Jere Skees. “Public Policy for Farm Structure and Rural Well-Being in the South.” OTA Report. Washington, D.C., 1985.
Thomas, Robert J.Citizenship, Gender, and Work: Social Organization of Industrial Agriculture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.
Tracy, Michael.Agriculture in Western Europe. New York: Praeger, 1964.
U.S. Bureau of Census.Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1987. (107 edition) Washington, D.C., 1987.
USDA. “The Current Financial Conditions of Farmers and Farm Lenders.” USDA, ERS, Agricultural Information Bulletin No. 490, 1985.
USDA. “Technology, Public Policy, and the Changing Structure of American Agriculture.” USDA, Washington, D.C., 1986.
Young, Arthur.General View of the Agriculture of the County of Oxfordshire. London: No Publisher, 1809.
Alessandro Bonanno is assistant professor of Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His primary areas of interest include Sociology of Agriculture, Regional/International Development and the Role of the State. He is also the author ofSmall Farms: Persistence with Legitimation. Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, 1987.
About this article
Cite this article
Bonanno, A. Structural and technical development in agriculture: An international overview. Agric Hum Values 5, 92–100 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02217180