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Type: Journal article
Title: Family Farms in the Scottish Borders: A Practical Definition by Hill Sheep Farmers
Author: Gray, J.
Citation: Journal of Rural Studies, 1998; 14(3):341-356
Issue Date: 1998
ISSN: 0743-0167
Abstract: The theme of this paper is the family farm and the problems of defining it. The approach taken is to recognize the difference between theoretical definitional practices of sociologists and anthropologists, on the one hand, and everyday definitional practices of family farmers on the' other. The former focus upon observable behaviour and/or quantitative measures that are used to construct an analytical concept with precise boundaries; the latter are not interested in defining the boundaries of the concept of the family farm but in understanding the nature and operations of their family farms so that they can reproduce them in their everyday activities. They attend to what is most central and ideal to the family farm and this is the basis of their concept of the family farm. Through an ethnographic account of hill sheep farms in the Scottish borderlands, the paper argues that the essence of family farms is a consubstantial relation between family and farm such that the distinct existence and form of both partake of or become united in a common substance that is transmitted over generations. The analysis highlights the economic and social interdependence of family and farm, the process by which the farm becomes embodied through family labour, the strategies adopted by the family to ensure the transfer of the farm to the following generation, and the use of a genetic metaphor to transpose a legal relation between family and farm into a consubstantial one.
DOI: 10.1016/S0743-0167(98)00010-2
Appears in Collections:Anthropology & Development Studies publications
Aurora harvest 2

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