Reciprocity, redistribution and relational values: organizing and motivating sustainable agriculture

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Nov 24, 2018
Kristal Jones and Daniel Tobin



This paper integrates historical and contemporary theorizations of relational values in both people–nature and people–people relationships, in order to further develop concepts used to analyze how values are embedded in systems of human–environment interactions. We focus on people–people relational values that can motivate sustainable agricultural practices, projects and systems by drawing on Polanyi’s articulation of substantive economics, and the distinction between the principles that organize economic systems and the ability of those systems to express multiple types of values. We apply these concepts to characterize how relational values are operationalized within sustainable agriculture projects, and we review how descriptions of such projects in the literature characterize their organizing principles and specific values. Our review suggests that instrumental and relational values can coexist within a single system, and we argue that it is the values, and not the organizing principles of the system, that determine potential impacts of agricultural sustainability.

Read the full article in Current Opinion in Evironmental Sustainability.

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