Topic: Farmer groups and socio-economics networks’ structure: a role to play as social resource for farmers and as driver for agroecological transition. The French Comtat Venaissin study case.
Keywords: Social network analysis, Agroecological transition, collective action, farming system typology, proximity
This contribution focus on socio-economic networks in which farmers from two different farmer groups of French Comtat Venaissin are involved. Trough social network and proximity analysis, it aims to study the diversity of interactions within and around the groups of farmers and the collective action dynamics in between members. This work pursue to investigate the role of farmers’ social context as a driver for agro-ecological transition, and to explore the potential role played by collective organization in such process. A characterization of farmers, based on their farming systems or on their position in networks, will contribute to our discussionS and understanding of group’s dynamics.
This contribution highlights that farmer groups, through organized proximity that emerge from them, facilitate varied economic resources fluxes – such as knowledge and advise sharing or material’s and workforce exchange- that can play a crucial role in some farming systems. In that respect, groups create individual and collective social assets and could be drivers for sustainable intensification process.
By analysing the socio-economic networks structure, characterizing both groups and pointing out the diversity of cooperation forms emerging from each group, we reveal two different group’s mechanisms and dynamics that corresponds to contrasting collective strategies. Network’s characteristics and structure will be discuss as a determinant factor in facilitating transition within farmer’s groups.
With an analysis based on both farming system typology and farmer’s social logics and network position characterization, we aims to describe the influence in between individual social strategy, farming system and the involvement in collaborative experience. We will also discuss the co-influence between the social position of farmers in networks and their farming practices.
Largest networks, that connect several groups of farmers among each other, or connect farmers with other stakeholders- such as agricultural advisors-, will also be considered as a resource and different type of proximities will be identified.
This works question the interaction between farming systems and social context, and suggest that collective organization, as potential individual and collective resource, have a role to play in agricultural transition issues. It brings up the question of transition cost for farmer–in terms of time, social and financial aspects-, and point cooperation as a way to reduce this cost.