Browsing Department of Sociology by Author "Bananno, Alessandro"
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ItemCORPORATE STRATEGIES IN THE GLOBAL ERA: THE CASE OF MEGA-HOG FARMS IN THE TEXAS PANHANDLE REGION(International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 2001) Bananno, Alessandro; Constance, Douglas H.Employing the case of the expansion of mega-hog production facilities in the Texas Panhandle region, this paper contributes to the globalization of agriculture and food literature by illustrating the strategies employed by transnational corporations (TNCs) to advance their economic and social interests and respond to emerging resistance. We argue that – rather than substantively addressing property, quality of life and environmental concerns raised by rural activists and residents – TNCs complement their hyper-mobility with corporate actions at the legitimative, political and economic levels which support their plans. At the legitimative level, hog-producing TNCs reacted to the challenges of local residents by presenting a “green” image which indicates conformity to good practices of environmental stewardship, narrows the definition of sound environmental actions and devalues opposition’s claims. Politically, TNCs modified existing environmental legislation to fit their agenda. By exercising direct control over the polity, TNCs were able to eliminate citizen participation from decision making processes concerning environmental issues. Additionally, they were able to further depoliticize environmental and property issues by shifting them from the political realm to the diministrative sphere. Economically, TNCs stressed the benefits that communities received from the relocation of mega-hog operations in their areas in a context characterized by a high demand for corporate investments from other regions. Additionally, TNCs employed their economic clout to exploit communities’ needs in order to gain acceptance of corporate positions. ItemThe crisis of representation: the limits of liberal democracy in the global era(Journal of Rural Studies, 2000) Bananno, AlessandroIn liberal thought, democracy is guaranteed by the unity of community and government. The community of citizens elects its government according to political preferences. The government rules over the community with powers which are limited by unalienable human, civil, and political rights. These assumptions have characterized Classical Liberalism, Revisionist Liberalism and contemporary Neo-liberal theories. However, the assumed unity of community and government becomes problematic in Global Post-Fordism. Recent research on the globalization of the economy and society has underscored the increasing inability of nation-states to exercise power over their communities which, in turn, limits the ability of communities to express their will at the nation-state level. The current phase of capitalism is characterized by socio-economic relations which transcend the jurisdictions of nation-states and local spaces. This paper addresses the issue of the fracture of the unity of community and government by introducing feature characteristics of Classical Liberalism, Revisionist Liberalism and Neo-liberalism. Moreover, it analyzes the contribution of the theory of Re#exive Modernization which represents a novel attempt to rethink democracy within the liberal tradition. The paper concludes that the inability of governments to control economic and non-economic environments creates a crisis of representation which implies serious limits to liberal democracy. This situation is particularly important for rural regions as their socio-economic development, and programs for its democratization have been historically based on the intervention of agencies of and control by the nation-state. c 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. ItemThe Global Agri-food Sector and the Case of the Tuna Industry: Global Regulation and Perspectives for Development(International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture, 1994) Bananno, Alessandro; Constance, Douglas H.Employing the case of the global tuna fish industry the paper investigates the effect of globalization on political institutions and social agents. Three interrelated points are argued. First, it is maintained that while the process of globalization is pervasive, it is also flexible, i.e. the outcome of globalization are contested and no particular agent has total control. Second, in the domestic arena, the regulatory ability of the nation-state has to be redefined. Third, despite possibilities for some subordinate groups to advance, weak segments of the labor force, particularly in developing countries such as in Latin America, continue to be marginalized. A possible alternative strategy call for attempts to establish international solidarity. The latter, however, should be based on awareness of the limits of protectionist and/or domestic center strategies in the global era. ItemThe Global Economy and Democracy: the Tuna-Dolphin Controversy Revisited(International Journal of the Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 1998) Bananno, Alessandro; Constance, Douglas H. ItemGlobal Post-Fordism and Concepts of the State(International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 1994) Bananno, Alessandro; Friedland, William H.; Llambi, Luis; Marsden, Terry; Moreira, Manuel Belo; Schaeffer, RobertFollowing a review of the literature on the State and some of the basic features of global post-Fordism, it is maintained that global post-Fordism can be synthesized through a set of four dialectical relationships: deregulation/re-regulation, fragmentation/coordination, mobility/embeddedness and empowerment/disempowerment. Moreover, it is argued that: 1) the State in global post-Fordism cannot be thought of exclusively in national terms; 2) its re-conceptualization must entail a transnational dimension; 3) the State cannot be conceptualized exclusively in terms of formal public appearances, agents and agencies; and 4) non-public apparatuses, agents and agencies must be included in the analysis. ItemThe Globalization of the Agricultural and Food Sector and Theories of the State(International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 1991) Bananno, AlessandroThe paper investigates the theoretical dislocation between the domestic oriented character of theories of the State and the transnational character of theories of socio-economic development. Employing the case of the food and agricultural sector, it is argued that the literature in this area has emphasized the transnational dimension of capital accumulation and the process of by-passing State authority at the national level. This situaion mandates a re-evaluation of State theories in regard to the international dimension of current processes of capital accumulation. Furthermore, the present analysis suggests patterns of "contradictory convergence" in which expansion at the transnational level of State action is demanded by transnational corporations and subordinate classes alike. This demand, however, is contradictory, as it finds its limits in the transnational bourgeoisie's desire to avoid State action. Politically, as a result of this situation the locus of emancipatory social action should be increasingly transferred to the international arena. ItemGlobalization, Food Quality and Labor: The Case of Grape Production in North-Eastern Brazil(International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture, 2012) Bananno, Alessandro; Cavalcanti, Josefa Salete BarbosaThis article investigates the consequences of the production of table grapes for export to corporate supermarkets in the global North on labor in a region of the Brazilian North-east. This production is destined to meet the growing demand for year-round food marketed as quality food. Quality food is required by supermarket chains to increase competitiveness and is guaranteed through third-party certification programs. Despite claims that certification not only maintains product quality but also safeguards the use of labor, the study demonstrates that the global production of quality grapes engenders negative consequences for workers. Laborers work longer for less pay, perform more sophisticated tasks, are employed mostly through temporary contracts, and experience new and more advanced forms of control. Additionally, the article illustrates the ways in which other salient actors, such as global food retailers, brokers and firms, operate in regard to labor and quality grape production. It is concluded that, despite various claims about the objectives of certification programs, the actual use of the certification processes at the local level does not translate immediately into better labor relations in the global South. ItemLa Questione del Lavoro nel Settore Agro-Alimentare: Questioni Teoriche e Problemi Storici(Agriregionieuropa, 2014) Bananno, AlessandroA livello internazionale1, la questione agro-alimentare contemporanea contiene, per lo meno, due processi contraddittori. Il primo si riferisce all’importanza dell’uso, nelle varie fasi del processo produttivo, di una forza di lavoro salariata2 a basso costo e politicamente debole e a la concomitante assenza di discussioni sul tema del lavoro nella produzione scientifica specializzata, soprattutto quella in lingua inglese. Il secondo si riferisce all’uso di teorie che spiegano l’uso e il comportamento della forza di lavoro agricola in termini di funzionamento del mercato attraverso l’andamento della domanda e dell’offerta di lavoro in un contesto in cui altri fattori contribuiscono a spiegare lo sviluppo della struttura occupazionale. In maniera molto breve, questo articolo discute questi due processi contraddittori evidenziando le loro caratteristiche e implicazioni. Benché questi temi siano stati affrontati in un contesto interdisciplinare, per motivi euristici la discussione che segue si basa sulla letterature sociologica sul settore agro alimentare. ItemMapping out the social experience of cancer patients with facial disfigurement(Health, 2010) Bananno, Alessandro; Choi, Jin YoungThis article contributes to the limited literature on the social consequences of cancer generated facial disfigurement by reporting the result of an exploratory analysis of interaction between facially disfigured cancer patients and strangers and acquaintances (secondary groups). Secondary groups are those in which membership occurs due to performance of formal and/or non-intimate roles. Interaction is studied as it takes place in different social settings. Indivi- duals who are affected by cancer of the head and neck region can now expect to survive for many years after the cancer is detected and later surgically removed. Because of surgery, these survivors live the rest of their lives with facial disfigurement and are stigmatized and socially excluded. It follows that a new and socially relevant situation has emerged: as medicine develops and allows more patients to survive, it forces them to spend significant portions of their lives dealing with the stigma associated with facial disfigurement. Research on social issues pertaining to facially disfigured cancer patients remains sparse. Limited knowledge has been produced on the “social context” within which interaction between the disfigured and relevant social groups takes place. To date most research has focused on the individual and his/her ability to adapt to the condition of facially disfigured. To address this scientific gap and document the manner through which the interaction process is socially created and evolves, interviews with fourteen facially disfigured cancer patients were carried out. These interviews were designed to reconstruct the interaction experiences of these individuals in different social contexts. Data were analyzed through the qualitative approach of grounded theory. Results indicate that patients can be divided into two groups: Occasionally Comfortable Patients and Always Comfortable Patients. Occasionally comfortable patients are individuals who experience different levels of comfort in interaction. In some situations they do not feel stigmatized, but other interactions constitute the contexts within which this discomfort emerges. Discomfort in interaction was employed as an indicator of stigmatization. Interacting groups were divided into small and large. Intrusion (unsolicited attention to patients) in interaction in large and small groups always generates uncomfortable situations. Sympathy (unsolicited comments and/or actions in support of patients) is associated with comfort in interaction in small groups and produces varying patterns in the case of large groups. Benign neglect (a situation in which interacting individuals do not pay particular attention to patients) produces comfort in interaction within large groups and varying outcomes in the case of small groups. Always comfortable patients are those who do not experience discomfort in interaction regard- less of the size and characteristics of the interacting group. The article concludes by stressing that facially disfigured cancer patients should be prepared to face different interaction patterns. Simultaneously, efforts should be made to educate patients and the general public about these interaction patterns. ItemResponses to the Crisis of Neoliberal Globalization: State Intervention in Palm Oil Production in Chiapas, Mexico(International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture, 2013) Fletes-Ocon, Hector B.; Bananno, AlessandroEmploying the case study of the cultivation of African palms for the production of palm oil in Chiapas, Mexico, this article probes the theme of alternative patterns of development to neo-liberal globalization. In particular, it discusses the issue of the return to state intervention (neo-Fordism) as an instrument to promote socio-economic development. Chiapas has been the theatre of the Zapatista movement of 1994. As a result of that popular uprising and despite its overtly neo-liberal posture, the Mexican state intervened significantly in Chiapas. In this context, the monoculture of the African palm has been pursued as a strategy to address local poverty among farmers, generate alternative and renewable forms of energy and provide a scheme for socio-economic growth in the area. This article illustrates the contradictory results of this ‘interventionist’ developmental project and the consequences and resistance that it entailed. The analysis of this case reveals the problematic nature of nation-state led interventionist schemes in a context marked by the emerging crisis of the neo-liberal model. It also underscores the significance of local initiatives that are generated by the aspirations and abilities of local residents. ItemSOCIOLOGY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD BEGINNING AND MATURITY: THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE MISSOURI SCHOOL (1976–1994)(Southern Rural Sociological Association, 2009) Bananno, AlessandroSociology of agriculture and food (SAF) is one of the most visible substantive subareas in Rural Sociology and a growing subarea in Sociology. While the studying of agriculture has always been a part of Rural Sociology, it was in the 1970s that the process that led to a clear and formal distinction between Rural Sociology and SAF began. SAF grew stronger in the 1980s and became established in the 1990s. This paper reviews salient theoretical and historical events that engendered the establishment and growth of SAF as a separate substantive area from Rural Sociology. Additionally, it reviews its development in the United States in relation to a movement that has been global since its onset. In particular, the paper addresses the ways in which SAF developed at the University of Missouri-Columbia under the intellectual leadership of William Heffernan. Heffernan’s “radical” reading of, and methodological approach to, the evolution of agriculture and food are compared with other popular views of, and approaches to, SAF such as the Marxist and the Constructionist. It is argued that Heffernan’s approach is grounded in the American theoretical tradition of Pragmatic Democracy exemplified by the classical work of John Dewey. Research on SAF produced at the University of Missouri-Columbia became highly visible as SAF reached its maturity in the mid-1990s. Heffernan’s intellectual contribution remains most influential in current salient debates within SAF. ItemStudent perceptions and instructional evaluations: A multivariate analysis of online and face-to-face classroom settings(Education and Information Technologies, 2015) Brocato, Billy R.; Bananno, Alessandro; Ulbig, StacyThis study examined students’ evaluations of faculty performance in traditional and online classes. The study design builds upon prior research that addressed socially relevant factors such as classroom environments, students’ learning goals, expected, and received grades, and more importantly, students’ ratings of instructors’ performance. The sample consists of data from a population of humanities and social sciences faculty from a medium-sized southwest undergraduate university who taught both online and traditional classes during the semester periods Fall 2010 to Spring 2012. In a traditional setting, the evaluation factors (develops rapport with students, stimulates students, challenges student learning, provides timely feedback, and teaches fundamentals), and the external factors—(course level taught and gender)—were found to significantly contribute to faculty summary scores. In an online class, students consistently rank female instructors better. However, the evaluation criteria—develops student rapport, stimulates students, provides timely feedback, and teaches fundamentals (though not ‘challenges and involves students in their learning’)—mirrored the same affects observed in the traditional classroom evaluations. The finding that “teaches fundamentals” received the largest standardized beta-coefficient in both classrooms further confirms earlier research that university students perceive course mastery as a major indicator of instructor performance regardless of gender or rank. However, the results indicate that students’ perceptions are different when attending a traditional versus online classroom setting. This infers that synchronous and asynchronous settings require different teaching styles and different evaluation criteria. ItemTerra, capitale, lavoro e la ristrutturazione neoliberale dell’agricoltura(Agriregionieuropa, 2015) Bananno, AlessandroNegli ultimi 120 anni di storia del capitalismo, la questione della relazione tra terra, capitale e lavoro è stata caratterizzata da un susseguirsi di periodi di equilibrio e crisi che ne hanno definito l’evoluzione. La critica marxista all’economia politica lascia pochi dubbi sulla contraddizione tra l’affermazione dell’ideologia borghese, che rinvia all’esistenza di un sistema basato sulla cooperazione e lo scambio mutualmente conveniente, e i processi disequilibranti di dominazione e sfruttamento generati dalle relazioni di mercato. Questa situazione di disequilibrio strutturale ha storicamente richiesto interventi di legittimazione del potere delle classi dominanti che hanno preso la forma sia di azioni socio-economiche (legittimazione materiale) sia di azioni a livello culturale e ideologico (legittimazione ideologica). In entrambi i casi si è trattato di tentativi per creare sistemi di egemonia, per cui l’ideologia e la politica delle classi dominanti erano condivise dalle classi subalterne. La ricerca e applicazione di giustificazioni a situazioni di disequilibrio e sfruttamento e il loro contenimento possono essere usati come chiavi di lettura del rapporto terra, capitale, lavoro che si e sviluppato nel XX secolo e in queste prime due decadi del XXI secolo.