“Next Year Country”: Agriculture and rurality in contemporary North America

Convenors:

Dr. Amber Fletcher, Department of Sociology and Social Studies, University of Regina, Canada

Dr. Wendee Kubik, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Brock University, Canada

Dr. June Corman, Department of Sociology, Brock University, Canada

Contact: Amber.fletcher@uregina.ca

Topic:

The objective of this session is to explore the changing nature of contemporary agriculture and rural life in North America. Papers focused on North American contexts, or papers comparing North American contexts with other areas, are welcome.

In Canada and the United States, agriculture is currently dominated by a productivist paradigm that emphasizes large-scale, industrialized farming. This trend, which is facilitated by neoliberal macroeconomic structures such as free trade agreements, has brought dramatic changes to rural communities and landscapes. Pending changes such as the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will bring further change. At the same time, alternatives are appearing to challenge the dominant paradigm. Following trends that have existed in the European markets for some time, burgeoning alternatives like organic production, increasing numbers of woman farmers, and local direct marketing are challenging the status quo.

The proposed session is open to all researchers with a focus on North American agricultural and rural communities or contexts. We are particularly interested in papers exploring dominant and/or alternative paradigms for North American agriculture.

Format:

Paper Session and Roundtable Discussion: the proposed format involves the panel-style presentation of short papers followed by a roundtable discussion with researchers and the audience. We look forward to an exciting interaction with researchers on both dominant and alternative paradigms, particularly through comparison between North American and European contexts. Audience members are invited to share their research on related topics to generate a brain storming session. The exchange of research built into the workshop is intended to generate constructive suggestions for further research and positive change across continents.