The Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurship in Agriculture and Rural Development
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The Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurship in Agriculture and Rural Development

Edited by Gry Agnete Alsos, Sara Carter, Elisabet Ljunggren and Friederike Welter

The agriculture sector around the world has experienced profound changes in recent years. This unique and path-breaking Handbook draws together the best current research in the area of entrepreneurship in agriculture, food production and rural development.
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Chapter 17: The Entrepreneurial Farmer in Action: The Use of Different Forms of Capital

Jane Glover


Jane Glover The case study in this chapter illustrates, by applying Bourdieu’s theory of capital, how one entrepreneurial farmer has used different forms of capital in order to develop and secure the future of the family farm business. The empirical work was gathered through the use of an ethnographic case study. Interviews, conducted with the farmer and his son, and participant observation were used to collect rich data. The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the processes the farmer went through in order to change his business operations, through telling a story rather than providing generalisations. The results, although highly case-specific owing to the individualistic nature of family farms, provide rich data for a complex study. The entrepreneurial farmer, in this case, uses economic capital alongside social and cultural capital. The motives for this are to increase his personal level of symbolic capital, giving the farmer his (status) place in the farming community, as well as being able to pass on accumulated capital to the next generation and so on. The findings from the case highlight how in using social and cultural capital the farmer connects himself to the wider world, besides his relations with the wider economic markets. INTRODUCTION Agriculture has developed radically over the last 50 years and is currently experiencing high levels of uncertainty over the future. Globalisation, the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) free trade policy, fluctuating commodity prices and market restructuring (resulting in centralised food production) all affect farmers and their businesses (Alston, 2004). The...

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