Agricultural Knowledge Systems: Issues of Accountability

  • Cornelia Butler Flora
Part of the Natural Resource Management and Policy book series (NRMP, volume 19)


Formal knowledge creation is a critical part of food systems. It occurs in various social spaces: the state (public sector), the market (for-profit private sector), and civil society (formal and informal groups of citizens). These sectors can overlap in a variety of ways. Further, they differ in terms of accountability. They have different stakeholders, different expectations, and different sanctions where those expectations are not met. In this chapter, I discuss the accountability of each of these “intellectual spaces”. First, I present the general situation for each of the three separate spaces, which impacts the degree to which accountability can be achieved and the mechanisms chosen to meet those goals within the knowledge systems. Then I present expectations for knowledge systems that emerge from the different spaces in terms of societal resource stocks and flows: human, social, natural and financial. Finally, I discuss the relations among the sectors in terms of accountability, focussing on what civil society might expect from the market and the state in terms of knowledge systems. The focus is on publicly supported agricultural knowledge systems.


Social Capital Civil Society Technical Change Knowledge System Natural Capital 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bird, E.A.R., G. L. Bultena, and J. C. Gardner (eds.). 1995. Planting the Future: Developing an Agriculture that Sustains Land and Community. Ames: Iowa State University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bloome, P. 1993. Privatization Lessons for U.S. Extension Learned from New Zealand and Tasmania. Journal of Extension 31: 24–25.Google Scholar
  3. Bratton, M. 1994. Civil Society and Political Transition in Africa. IRD Reports 11 (6).Google Scholar
  4. Browne, W. P. 1995. Cultivating Congress: Constituents, Issues, and Interests in Agricultural Policy Making. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  5. Cary, J. 1993. Changing Foundations for Government Support of Agricultural Extension in Economically Developed Countries. Sociologia Ruralis 33: 336–347]CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chambers, R., A. Pacey, and L.A. Thrupp. 1989. Farmer First: Farmer Innovation and Agricultural Research. IT Publications, London.Google Scholar
  7. Chiappe, M. B. and C. B. Flora. 1998. Gendered Elements of the Sustainable Agriculture Paradigm. Rural Sociology 63: 372–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clement, L. (ed.). 1992. On-Farm Research and Extension for Agricultural Sustainability. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois College of Agriculture.Google Scholar
  9. Exner, D. and R. Thompson. 1998. Cooperating with Farmers to Promote Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa. Ames, IA Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University.Google Scholar
  10. Gasteyer, S. and C. Butler Flora. 2000. Measuring PPM with Tennis Shoes: Science and Locally Meaningful Indicators of Environmental Quality. Society and Natural Resources 13: 589–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hassanein, N. and J. R. Kloppenburg, Jr. 1995. Where the Grass Grows Again: Knowledge Exchange in the Sustainable Agriculture Movement. Rural Sociology. 60: 721–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kellogg Commission on the Future of Land Grant Universities. 1999. Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution. Washington, DC: National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.Google Scholar
  13. Kellogg Foundation. 1995. Food Systems Professions Education Overview and Project Synopses of Phase I: Vision Building. Battle Creek, MI: W.K. Kellogg Foundation.Google Scholar
  14. Kellogg Foundation. 1997. IFS Insights: Cultivating Agriculture’s Future Through Collaboration. Battle Creek, MI: W. K. Kellogg Foundation.Google Scholar
  15. Kellogg Foundation. 1999. Visions of Change in Higher Education. Battle Creek, MI: W. K. Kellogg Foundation.Google Scholar
  16. Kloppenburg, Jr., J. 1991. Social theory and the de/reconstruction of agricultural science: local knowledge for sustainable agriculture. Rural Sociology 56: 519–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kroese, R. and C. Butler Flora. 1993. Building a Grass Roots Institution to Implement Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture: The Stewardship Farming Experience. In C. Alders, B. [Incomplete]Google Scholar
  18. Kroma, M. and C. Butler Flora. forthcoming. Farmer Research as Cognitive Process: An Exploratory Study of SARE-Funded Projects in the North Central Region. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture. Google Scholar
  19. Haverkort and L. van Valdhurzen (eds.) Linking with Farmers: Networking for Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture. London: Intermediate Technology Publication: 81–93.Google Scholar
  20. Latour, B. 1986. Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Levins, R. 1997. Measuring Profitability. White Bear, MN: Land Stewardship Project.Google Scholar
  22. Meares, A. 1997. Making the Transition from Conventional to Sustainable Agriculture: Gender, Social Movement Participation, and Quality of Life on the Family Farm. Rural Sociology 62: 21–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Peters, S. 1998. Extension Work as Public Work: Reconsidering Cooperative Extension’s Civic Mission. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  24. Putnam, R. D. 1995. Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital. Journal of Democracy. 6: 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Putnam, R.D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  26. Putnam, R. D. 1998. The distribution of social capital across time and space in contemporary America. Keynote address Social Capital, Individuals, and Society: American Communities in the 21st Century, Michigan State University.Google Scholar
  27. Rhoades, R.E., and R.H. Booth. 1982. Farmer-back-to-farmer: a model for generating acceptable agricultural technology. Agricultural Administration 11:127–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Savory, A. and J. Butterfield. 1999. Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cornelia Butler Flora
    • 1
  1. 1.Iowa State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations