Exploring domains of contemporary Australian agrarianism

Dominic Peel, Helen L. Berry, Linda Courtenay Botterill, Geoff Cockfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The idealisation of rural work, people, and communities is remarkably persistent in Western countries. With the diminishing role of agriculture in national economies and changing values, this agrarian sentiment could be expected to lose currency. Yet, agrarian tropes and narratives remain evident in popular culture, political discourse, and public policy. Flinn and Johnson, in the 1970s, pioneered empirical studies of agrarianism based on a regionally specific and relatively small sample from which they identified five tenets of agrarianism. We sought to develop a survey instrument to explore whether changes in societal values, and in the structures and practices of agriculture, mean these tenets no longer hold. We find that, overall, many of the key elements identified by Flinn and Johnson are still evident. In addition, we have identified three domains of agrarianism: foundationalism, ruralism, and stewardship, that represent some of the historical diversity of agrarian themes and some accommodation with environmentalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-402
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number2
Early online date20 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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