RSO-30806 The Sociology of Farming and Rural Life


Studiepunten 6.00

Excursion (one day)4
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. CEP Jansen
Lecturer(s)dr. ML Schneider
dr. ir. CEP Jansen
Examiner(s)dr. ir. CEP Jansen

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Students are expected to have basic knowledge on social theory and development theory, e.g. as taught in the following courses: RSO-20806 Agricultural and Rural Development: Sociological Perspectives; RSO-21306 Political Sociology for Development; ENP-31806 Globalization and Sustainability of Food Production and Consumption or equivalent background. Students without this knowledge are requested to contact the course coordinator to discuss possibilities for filling this gap.

Continuation courses:

YSS-82812 BSc Thesis Sociology of Development; RSO-34306 Theorizing Development: Implications for Research


Development and agrarian change are closely interlinked processes. Poverty, hunger, and the future of the environment intertwine with issues of power, politics, inequality, environmental crises, and social justice. This course aims to address these issues by teaching a sociological perspective on the dynamics of agrarian change, and their links to processes of development. The course is centred on eleven key questions that reflect the core of contemporary academic debates within the field of agrarian sociology, starting with the classical Agrarian Question of how capitalism transforms the countryside. Other questions consider the diversity of farming, the future of the peasantry, labour-agribusiness relationships, gender and social reproduction, access and property relationships, the politics of high-risk technologies, and ecological crises. Students will learn to raise questions rather than reproducing easily claimed solutions, which will enhance a critical understanding of the dynamics of farming and rural life and of differential patterns of agricultural and rural development. The course builds upon a range of theoretical perspectives, including sociology and anthropology of agriculture, labour process theory, agrarian political ecology, and theories of agrarian movements.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- apply sociological concepts to analyse differential patterns of agricultural and rural development;

- understand the key questions and debates for studying agrarian change from a comparative perspective;

- distinguish different theoretical positions with regard to agricultural and rural development;

- evaluate the political implications of these academic positions with regard to current issues such as food provisioning and responding to environmental crises;

- critically reflect on agricultural and rural transformation processes;


- lectures and tutorials providing an empirical, theoretical and methodological background;
- practicals to practice the analysis of data bases in groups and write a concise report on the findings;
- excursion with assignment;
- self-study; including the formulation of questions about the literature.


- group assignment (30%);

- written exam with open questions (70%). To pass the written exam requires a minimum mark of 5.50.

- satisfactory participation in formulating and discussing questions about the literature (no mark, but requirement to pass the course)


Literature will be made available via the electronic course site.

Verplicht voor: BINInternational Development StudiesBScA: Spec. A - Sociology of Development5AF
Keuze voor: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScB: Spec. B - Sustainable Food Systems5AF