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For a 'Piece of Bread'? Interpreting Sustainable Development through Agritourism in Southern Tuscany

Sonnino, Roberta 2004. For a 'Piece of Bread'? Interpreting Sustainable Development through Agritourism in Southern Tuscany. Sociologia Ruralis 44 (3) , pp. 285-300. 10.1111/j.1467-9523.2004.00276.x

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Under global conditions that threaten the viability of rural economies and the farm sector, Italian legislation supports both through agritourism, a form of rural tourism conceived to diversify and complement the economic activities of individual farms. In theory, agritourism is a sustainable strategy: in its stated objectives, it promotes the conservation of a broadly conceived rural environment through its socioeconomic development. Building upon recent calls for assessments of sustainability that are relative to local environments, this paper analyses the relationship between the assumptions of a political scheme that attempts to sustain the rural environment and the perceptions and practices of those who live in that environment. Data collected in two different sites of southern Tuscany through participant observation and in-depth interviews show that different structural conditions and differing cultural values make agritourism responsive to the wants and needs of just one segment of the local farming population. In advocating rural development strategies that take into account pre-existing socioeconomic inequalities and varieties in farmers' environmental worldviews, this case study challenges the efficacy of global paradigms and emphasizes the role of empirical research in devising sustainable policies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1467-9523
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:09

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