Convenors: Heidi Vinge (Ruralis – Institute of Rural and Regional Research), Paul Swagemakers (University of Vigo), Annie McKee (The James Hutton Institute), Flaminia Ventura (University of Perugia), Pierluigi Milone (University of Perugia), Lola Domínguez García (Complutense University of Madrid)
Objectives: This working group researches land as a critical concept for all social processes. It aims to provide a platform for discussing questions on the governance of rural places, and how land use types and management practices impact on social relations and vice versa. It will contribute to academic thinking on the overarching and connecting questions associated with the theme of ‘land’, to underpin the legitimacy of research on this topic, encourage future academic publications linking local to global, and to support collaborative relationship-building. This includes considering the new knowledge types required to develop responses to the key questions around land, how such knowledge can be captured through social science methodologies, identifying ‘failure factors’, and lessons to be learnt on how to orient more equal development across European regions.
Topic: Land is a resource that involves a complicated and often conflicting set of issues, relations, and actors. It is deeply embedded in emotions and moralities, as well as economies and government regulations. Land is vital as habitat for plants and animals, and as a resource base for agriculture. The potential for conflict becomes clear in a context of increased urbanization, structural changes in agriculture, and the financialization of natural resources. An emerging complex array of institutions and multi-level governance issues relate to adjustments in land-use and farm practices—in some respects these are contested and may endanger family farms and livelihoods—that promote sustainable agriculture, generate knowledge and innovation, and empower family farms to change and adapt to new societal and environmental needs. This working group seeks to consider the following questions:
- How can we foster ecological, economical and socially sustainable land use in the context of climate change, migration, and global population increase?
- What are the economic, ecological, political and socio-cultural barriers, drivers, and values influencing land management, from the local to the global level? What are the alternatives and opportunities?
- What new forms of knowledge are required? How can/should various forms of knowledge be integrated, and how do they influence land use governance processes?
We welcome empirical and theoretical contributions that unravel the diversity in evolving land-use practices on subject areas such as:
- Governance by measures, models, indicators and public payments
- Participation, democracy, sovereignty, and power
- The relationship between nature conservation and farming
- Land practices and challenges in different agricultural production systems
- Innovation and implementation in policies, institutions, and law
Format: A session host will introduce the working group theme (5 minutes), followed by presentations (3-8 minutes) by contributors. After answering clarifying questions, the discussion moves on to an open, moderated discussion involving the audience. Short papers submitted in advance of the conference will receive timely feedback.