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Farming Systems Research: an approach to inquiry

  • Ika DarnhoferEmail author
  • David Gibbon
  • Benoit Dedieu
Chapter

Abstract

Initially, Farming Systems Research took the farm as a starting point for an analysis of a broad range of issues linked to agricultural production. Soon afterwards, it was recognised that to understand farming, the scale of analysis needed to be broadened, to capture the interactions between farms and their natural, social and economic context. Topics of research now range from on-farm issues such as interactions between crop production and animal husbandry, to farmer pluriactivity, civic food networks, and how cultural landscapes are shaped by farming activities. Underlying this breadth of topics, three characteristics are identified as being constituent of Farming Systems Research: systems thinking, interdisciplinarity and a participatory approach to research. In this chapter we discuss these three characteristics, and the challenges they pose in their operationalization. Given these challenges, we discuss the reasons why Farming Systems Research is demanding, and we highlight that the core quality of a researcher is reflexivity, in designing, in implementing and in evaluating research.

Keywords

Collective Action Social Learning Farming System Participatory Approach Participatory Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic and Social SciencesUniversity of Natural Resources and Life SciencesViennaAustria
  2. 2.Agricultural and Rural Livelihood SystemsChurch StrettonUK
  3. 3.INRA Sciences for Action and Development, and MétafortSaint Genès ChampanelleFrance

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