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About this book

This open access book applies for the first time emerging concepts of socioeconomics to analyse an economic sector, namely agriculture. It considers the rational choices of all actors in the system (just as agricultural economists do) and their cultural preferences and constraints (just as rural sociologists do). Socioeconomic concepts are subsequently used to structure agricultural issues with regard to the three governance mechanisms (hierarchy, markets, and cooperation), and different agricultural systems are presented and compared. The book will be of interest to social scientists with various backgrounds, and seeks to break down the barriers of single-disciplinary thinking.

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Table of Contents


Open Access

Chapter 1. What Is This Book Good for?

Socioeconomics may be under greater pressure to define itself than the “classical” sciences. The latter have largely been defined by the conceptualization of real-world phenomena: biology, for example, arose because of the willingness to better understand the phenomenon of life in its different specificities. Economics arose to study and resolve the issue of scarcity. And sociology was created to analyze the dynamics of societal groups.
Stefan Mann

Open Access

Chapter 2. Agricultural Hierarchies

Hierarchies are a direct contradiction to equality: as soon as one person issues orders to another or is considered superior in any other way, these two persons can no longer be considered equal. Anarchists are the group who take this challenge most seriously and, in the extreme, even parenting can be considered as immoral, as it involves clearly hierarchical structures (Tremblay in Why parenting is invalid. https://​francoistremblay​.​wordpress.​com/​page/​263/​?​pages-list (13 Jan 2017), 2008).
Stefan Mann

Open Access

Chapter 3. Agricultural Markets

Since the times of Adam Smith, ten thousands of economists have devoted most of their efforts to understanding markets. The resulting narrative they have helped develop impressively explains a large number of real-world phenomena.
Stefan Mann

Open Access

Chapter 4. Agricultural Cooperation

Cooperative settings, if judged from a utilitarian perspective, can be justified in two distinct ways. The first is that individual utilities can be enhanced if forces are joined together in a cooperative setting, while the second argument concerns utility interdependencies. The fact that my well-being is dependent on my neighbour’s well-being not only has added complexity within the mathematical landscapes of utility theory, but has also been usedl as a theoretical concept to explain practices such as donations.
Stefan Mann

Open Access

Chapter 5. Agricultural System

The previous chapters have shown a lot of microstructures in the farming sector. Farmers and the other actors in the agricultural chain place themselves in hierarchies in which they dominate in some areas and are dominated in others. On various markets, they trade not only commodities but also labels, occupations and residences. Furthermore, they try to collaborate both in established and in new settings.
Stefan Mann
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