Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

American Agrarianism

  • Bradley M. JonesEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_566



Agrarianism is an ethical perspective that privileges an agriculturally oriented political economy. At its most concise, agrarianism is “the idea that agriculture and those whose occupation involves agriculture are especially important and valuable elements of society” (Montmarquet 1989, viii). Despite the fact that the “march of progress” increasingly displaces the agrarian way of life, leaving agrarianism largely anachronistic, the agrarian idyll has remained astonishingly persistent. In the contemporary United States, farmers now comprise less than two percent of the population and four out of five citizens live in either urban or peri-urban environments. Nevertheless, the constellation of values associated with agrarianism still hold astounding purchase on the American imagination. More than merely a synonym for agriculturalist, farmer, or peasant, an agrarian embraces a complex paradigm for conceptualizing...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA