Title: Multifunctionality: refocusing a spreading, loose and fashionable concept for looking at sustainability?

Authors: Patrick Caron, Ernest Reig, Dirk Roep, Werner Hediger, Tristan Le Cotty, Denis Barthelemy, Anna Hadynska, Jakub Hadynski, Henk A. Oostindie, Eric Sabourin

Addresses: CIRAD, Campus international de Baillarguet – TA C-DIR/B, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France. ' Department of Applied Economics II, University of Valencia, Avda. dels Tarongers s/n, Valencia 46022, Spain. ' Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen 6706 KN, The Netherlands. ' Swiss College of Agriculture, Laenggasse 85, Zollikofen CH-3052, Switzerland. ' CIRAD-ES, TA 56/15, 73 rue Jean Francois Breton, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France. ' INRA, Departement Sciences Sociales Agriculture Alimentation Espace Environment, Unite MONA, 65 Boulevard de Brandebourg, Ivry-sur-Seine Cedex 94205, France. ' Institute for German Studies, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. ' Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Management, August Cieszkowski University of Poznan, ul. Wojska Polskiego 28, 60-637 Poznan, Poland. ' Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen 6706 KN, The Netherlands. ' Cirad – ES, Research Unit Arena (Collective action markets and public policies), University of Brasilia, SQS 310 Bloco i – Apto 305, Brasilia DF cep 70363-090, Bresil

Abstract: The notion of agriculture|s Multifunctionality (MF) emerged in the 1980s. It then followed two trajectories since the 1990s: a conflicting period linked to its use in the international trade negotiations on the one hand, a spreading in terms of meaning, use and geographically on the other hand. Specific meanings appeared in connection with policy making, at national or international levels, or through the involvement of new disciplines. Yet, very few authors discuss the implication of the chosen meaning on their findings. To explore and take advantage of using this word and to deliver it from its controversial use in international trade negotiations, it is absolutely necessary to clearly understand the differences in the epistemological and ideological foundations behind different conceptions of MF. Highlighting the historical conditions in which the word emerged and was used, is an important but not sufficient pathway to interpret the diversity of meanings and uses and to make the word a meaningful, robust and operational concept for addressing Sustainable Development (SD) and designing adequate policies.

Keywords: agricultural multifunctionality; sustainability; sustainable development; multifunctionality concept; policy making; multifunctional agriculture.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2008.020078

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2008 Vol.7 No.4/5, pp.301 - 318

Published online: 25 Aug 2008 *

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