Browsing Faculty Research by Department "Sociology"
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ItemCAFO CONTROVERSY IN THE TEXAS PANHANDLE REGION: THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS OF HOG PRODUCTION(Culture and Agriculture, 1999) Constance, Douglas H.; Bonanno, AlessandroIn this analysis we use the case of the expansion of mega hog operations in the Panhandle area of Texas to illustrate the strategies corporate actors employ to counter environmental concerns expressed by activist groups. To facilitate the growth of hogs CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), corporate actors exert their influence over state environmental agencies and eliminate public participation from quality of the environment evaluation procedures. In response, activist groups use the courts to challenge the corporate strategies on the grounds that hog CAFOs compromise the physical and social environment of their communities. Pro-business interests respond through narrowing the definition of environmentally sound agricultural activities by stressing their conformity to existing environmental regulations and highlighting the economic benefits related to job expansion and monetary donations to cooperating communities. We conclude that the concept of the environment is a contested terrain made up of competing socially created discourses which need substantive rather than formal evaluations. ItemCONTESTED GLOBALIZATION OF THE AGRIFOOD SYSTEM: A MISSOURI SCHOOL ANALYSIS OF SANDERSON FARMS AND SEABOARD FARMS IN TEXAS(Southern Rural Sociology, 2009) Constance, Douglas H.The Missouri School of Agrifood Studies began with a focus on the power of agribusiness corporations in relation to quality of life of farmers and their related communities. The poultry industry was the first commodity studied, with later research into other commodity sectors and then the global dimensions of this process. In this paper I continue the Missouri School agenda by focusing on the entry of the poultry firm Sanderson Farms and the hog firm Seaboard Farms into Texas. This paper combines a sociology of the agrifood system conceptual framework with two case studies of agribusiness expansion in Texas to inform discussions regarding the characteristics of the globalization of the agrifood system. The results of the research indicate that the CAFO-based economic development strategies in Texas created significant controversies as local citizens organized to challenge the initiatives. This contested process of the globalization of the agrifood system was mediated by the state, mostly in favor of the agribusiness transnational corporations (TNCs). ItemCONVENTIONALIZATION, BIFURCATION, AND QUALITY OF LIFE: CERTIFIED AND NON-CERTIFIED ORGANIC FARMERS IN TEXAS(Southern Rural Sociology, 2008) Constance, Douglas H.; Choi, Jin Young; Lyke-Ho-Gland, HollyOrganic agriculture has been advanced as a production system that improves environmental quality and supports rural community development. Recent developments in organics have called into question both assertions. Researchers have argued that the advent of national-level organic standards has contributed to the conventionalization and bifurcation of organics. Conventionalization refers to the process by which organic agriculture increasingly takes on the characteristics of mainstream industrial agriculture. Bifurcation refers to the process by which the organic agriculture adopts a dual-structure of smaller, lifestyle-oriented producers and larger, industrial-scale producers. This research examines the conventionalization and bifurcation theses through a comparison of certified organic and non-certified organic producers in Texas. We conclude that the case of organics in Texas provides mixed support for the conventionalization thesis. ItemCorporate Chickens and Community Conflict in East Texas: Growers’ and Neighbors’ Views on the Impacts of Industrial Broiler Production(Culture and Agriculture, 2005) Constance, Douglas H.; Tuinstra, RenyThis paper employs a case study approach utilizing both historical and interview methods to investigate the community impacts of the industrialization and globalization of the broiler industry in East Texas. The rapid expansion of the chicken CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) created tensions and conflicts between the growers and their neighbors. While the neighbors tended to focus on substantive issues such as odor nuisances, water quality, health concerns, property values, and community disruption, the growers tended to minimized these assertions and charge the neighbors with being jealous of their economic success. The focus on grower/neighbor perceptions of the community impacts of the chicken houses contexted within a socio-historical perspective is a unique contribution to the literature. 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. ItemDiscerning Differences among Producer Groups and Organic Adoption Barriers in Texas(Journal of Food Distribution Research, 2010) Lau, Michael; Hanagriff, Roger; Constance, Douglas H.; York, Mary; VanDelist, Brian; Higgins, Lindsey M.While nationwide growth in the production of organic agricultural products has seen rapid expansion, the number of certified organic operations in Texas has remained relatively stagnant. Evidence shows a shift in consumer’s demands toward organic products, yet Texas producers have been comparatively slow to respond to this shift. A survey was distributed to a random sample of 4,006 Texas producers as a means of understanding the perceived barriers of adoption of organic production practices in Texas,. Emphasis was placed on perceived production and market barriers to organic production and differences in perceived barriers among producer groups. The results provide guidance about the types of policy approaches that will be effective in overcoming the barriers to organic adoption. ItemAn Examination of Acculturation, Social Support, and Health Outcomes among Chinese American Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities(2021) Deng, FurjenDataset for An Examination of Acculturation, Social Support, and Health Outcomes among Chinese American Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities. As new immigrants facing cultural and structural barriers, Asian American parents raising a child with developmental disabilities are expected to encounter greater frustration, stress, social isolation, and poorer health outcomes. Based on data collected from 57 Chinese American parents of children with developmental disabilities, this paper examines the relationships between social support, acculturation, disability severity level, and parent’s physical and mental health status. The findings showed that Chinese American mothers and fathers exhibited different pathways to better health outcomes. Overall social support, specific support from family and friends/co-workers, and community involvement were significant correlates of maternal physical and mental well-being. Fear of stigmatization was significantly and positively associated with maternal depressive symptoms. In contrast, education and employment status were significantly correlated with paternal physical and mental well-being. Parent’s age and child’s age were also found to be significantly and negatively correlated with paternal depressive symptoms. The child’s disability severity level was not associated with parent’s physical and mental health. The findings also confirmed that Chinese American mothers experienced poor physical and mental health compared to Chinese American fathers. The implications and limitations of the study are also discussed. ItemThe Financialization of Agriculture and Food in the Context of the Neoliberal Restructuring: Primary Characteristics and Basic Contradictions(Estudios Rurales, 2016) Bananno, AlessandroThis article examines the dynamics and characteristics of the macro-process of financialization of agriculture and food. It refers to the rapid growth of the financial sector and the concomitant trend towards the securitization of economic activities, that is, the process that reduces the entire value of the economy to financial instruments. Having pointed out the basic components of the financialization of agri-food, this article proposes the hypothesis that the evolution of the sector is largely directed by a group of actors operating within the financial sector. The article concludes that the solutions to current problems and the analysis of the agri-food sector require attention to its financial dimension. 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 Global Poultry Agro/Food Complex(International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 1991) Constance, Douglas H.; Heffernan, William D.The globalization of the food system is a topic of growing concern as various nation/states try to obtain food security. This analysis test the hypothesis of the existence of a poultry agro/food complex being constructed by transnational corporations. We focus on the concept of "global sourcing" and argue that the rise in economic power of transnational corporations limits the abilities of individual nation/st.ates to direct their agricultural policies toward national ends. We also argue that with the increasing transnational character of the large corporations the usefulness of individual nation/states or individual commodities as units of analysis decreases. We conclude that U.S., European. and Japanese transnational corporations arc indeed creating a global poultry agro/food complex based on the concept of "global sourcing'', Our findings also suggest that these same transnational corporations are very active in several other commodity sectors. 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, Broiler Production, and Community Controversy in East Texas(Southern Rural Sociology, 2002) Constance, Douglas H.The poultry industry was the first livestock commodity sector to adopt an industrial organizational model. In recent years the poultry industry has expanded beyond national boundaries into a globalized system of production. The globalization of agriculture and food is a frequent topic of discussion for researchers interested in rural society. A common focus of these discussions is the consequences of corporate penetration on rural areas and the ways local communities respond to such corporate actions. This paper uses the case of the introduction of large-scale broiler production in East Texas combined with a sociology of agriculture and food conceptual framework to inform discussions regarding the community impacts of the globalization of the agrifood system. This paper concludes that economic development initiatives can experience legitimation crises as local social movement groups resist development strategies. 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. ItemGLOBALIZATION, TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS, THE STATE AND DEMOCRACY(International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture, 2004) Bananno, AlessandroIn this article I argue that TNCs are the most powerful actors under globalization. Additionally, I contend that the contradictory relationship between TNCs and the state represents one of the most important aspects of this era. The core of this article, however, probes the issue of future outcomes of globalization. My point is that, while globalization is a response of the dominant groups to the gains and status that subordinate classes obtained under Fordism, it contains important contradictions that allow the possibility for the democratization of contemporary society. Under Fordism, subordinate classes’ gains established never-reached-before levels of substantive democracy. Globalization represents a dominant class’ response to this situation and, above all, an attack on labor and class based movements and the historical Left. Under globalization, the historical Left’s ability to organize and find strength in the factories and agricultural fields has been significantly diminished. Resistance emerged from new social movements. The environmental and consumer movements are two among these new social movements. Because of their focus on quality of life and consumption, they have the possibility to counter TNCs and establish substantive forms of democracy. My point is that these new social movements represent new emancipatory actors in the era of globalization. New emancipatory actors are accompanied by spaces of emancipation. I identify one of these spaces in the state. Because of its contradictory relationship with TNCs, the state is called to support and legitimize corporate actions in a situation in which TNCs tend to by-pass state demands and consequently limit the state’s ability to assist them. This situation opens up a crisis of legitimation in which the state is called to justify actions that it cannot fully control and regulate. I further argue that the contradiction of realization experienced by TNCs is another space of emancipatory action. I argue that TNCs’ need to realize their production – i.e., to sell the commodities they produce in order to transform them into money – makes them vulnerable to new social movements’ demands and create the possibility for more ethically and socially acceptable forms of production. I conclude the article by arguing that, in spite of the above mentioned contradictions and anti-corporate movements, TNCs remain firmly in control of contemporary society. This situation makes the attainment of more democratic conditions a contested terrain whose outcome will be decided by the ability of alternative forces to exploit globalization’s contradictions and use available spaces of emancipation. ItemGOVERNANCE, GLOBALIZATION, AND THE STATE(Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 2010) Bananno, AlessandroAt the outset of the second decade of the twenty-first century, rural sociology in general, and agrifood studies in particular, are characterized by a growing interest in the analysis of “governance.” In many respects, this is a surprising event as only a little over a decade ago, this topic was virtually absent from the many debates on rural and agrifood issues. Yet, there is very little disagreement on the reasons for the recent development of studies on governance. Globalization and the changed role of the state that it engendered are often cited among such reasons. ItemLa globalización agro-alimentaria: sus características y perspectivas futuras(Sociologias, 2003) Bonanno, AlessandroEl objetivo de este artículo es de examinar las características principales del proceso de globalización del sistema agro-alimentario en relación al desarrollo socio-económico de América Latina. La vasta literatura sobre la globalización está resumida en tres grupos distintos. Los neo-liberales radicales argumentan que la globalización representa la receta necesaria para adelantar el desarrollo socio-económico a nivel mundial. Los centristas intervencionistas destacan que, aunque las dinámicas de mercado tienen una importancia central, no es posible mantener los equilibrios sociales y económicos sin la intervención del Estado. El tercer grupo critica la globalización y la define como un sistema contradictorio que aumenta la brecha entre los países ricos y los pobres y, dentro de cada uno de ellos, las desigualdades entre las clases sociales. Empleando tres estudios de caso, el trabajo analiza tres hipótesis generadas por este debate. La primera se refiere a la cuestión del funcionamiento del libre mercado, la segunda a la cuestión de la fuerza y papel del Estado y la tercera a la cuestión de la democracia. Se concluye que el mercado está fuertemente condicionado por las CTNs y que sus acciones afectan negativamente a varios grupos sociales. También, se destaca que el Estado mantiene importantes poderes que, sin embargo, están siendo usados para adelantar los intereses de la CTNs creando condiciones favorables para la hiper-movilidad del capital. En relación al tercer tema se concluye que la globalización limita la participación popular en procesos de toma de decisiones, pero, simultáneamente, genera resistencia y movilización social. Las conclusiones subrayan que la globalización crea una crisis de programas de desarrollo nacional dado que el crecimiento económico se basa más en el eje regional-global. También, se indica que la inclusión en los circuitos globales tiende a generar crecimiento de los beneficios para las compañías pero que no se traduce necesariamente en desarrollo social. Esta situación indica la exclusión de los circuitos globales como una estrategia democrática de desarrollo socio-económico 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.