Title: Multifunctionality: epistemic diversity and concept oriented research clusters

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, Poznan 60-637, 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: This paper provides a mapping of the different uses of the word multifunctionality. To explore the diversity of meanings and interpretations, a comparative analysis was conducted through five national case studies in France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. The analysis conducted at national level makes it possible to identify eight Concept Oriented Research Clusters (CORCs), based on a relative homogeneity in the research practices, in the research questions addressed, in the concepts used or discussed by scientists to lead their work and in the scientific disciplines, the stream of thought or possibly the epistemic community researchers belong to. The classification helps in understanding how the term Multifuctionality (MF) is used by different advocates around a variety of conceptualisations, political context or normative perspectives. It also helps in looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the word for tackling different issues. Highlighting this diversity might contribute to the consolidation of research and to gain credibility facing the political debates. Because of what it can bring into analysis, the authors recommend to use it for the design of an analytical framework to look at sustainability, and to leave the conception of MF as a goal to the political spheres.

Keywords: agricultural multifunctionality; Europe; sustainability; sustainable development; multifunctionality concept; clusters; epistemic; France; The Netherlands; Poland; Spain; Switzerland; multifunctional agriculture.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2008.020080

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2008 Vol.7 No.4/5, pp.319 - 338

Published online: 25 Aug 2008 *

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