Rural History 2015

Panel 16

Organizers: Molema, Marijn (1); Karel, Erwin (2,3); Segers, Yves (4)

Affiliation: 1: Fryske Akademy, Netherlands; 2: University of Groningen, Netherlands; 3: Nederlands Agronomisch Historisch Instituut (NAHI), Netherlands; 4: University of Leuven, Belgium

Economic clusters of agriculture industries, 19th and 20th centuries

"Economic clusters are regional concentrated networks of organizations, such as firms, suppliers, knowledge institutes and governmental organizations. According to economic geographers, frequent face-to-face contact stimulates an regional atmosphere of cooperation and innovation. Can we recognize such clusters in Rural History too? This panel investigates if and how innovative activities evolved within agribusiness clusters. Agribusiness in Europe started about 1850 in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. It mostly concentrated in those agricultural sectors such as dairy, potato flour or meat industry where the products could be processed industrially. The cluster concept may open challenging perspectives for the study of Rural History. It may combine and extend novel approaches, such as recent studies on knowledge networks and the governmental role in the modernisation of the European countryside. In economic-geographical studies, however, clusters are often treated as given rather than made. Moreover, historical analysis can and should lay more emphasis on power relationships within economic clusters. Instead of an integral network analysis of all economic actors involved, the focus of this panel lies on the interdependencies between three domains. The first domain is the economic realm restricted to farmers on the one hand and food processing industries on the other. The second domain is the field of knowledge institutes. The third domain is the domain of governmental organizations. The panel investigates if we can trace the evolution of innovative relationships between regional agents. How can we analyse the supposed structures of regional cooperation in rural history with reference to economic innovation? Another question addresses the theme of agency. How ‘free’ are agents within networks, which power relationships are characteristic of agribusiness clusters?"


Papers (part I)

Chair: Erwin Karel, University of Groningen/Nederlands Agronomisch Historisch instituut, Netherlands

Paper 1: Economic networks in the Frisian dairy sector, 1895-1914 [+]

Marijn Molema, Fryske Akademy, Netherlands

Paper 2: Knowledge networks, globalisation and the State. The fruit sector in Limburg, 1880-1940 [+]

Yves Segers, University of Leuven, Belgium

Paper 3: Connections in the Cotton Industry: Agribusiness Clusters in the Southern United States After World War II

Maarten Zwiers, University of Groningen, Netherlands


Papers (part II)

Chair: Erwin Karel, University of Groningen/Nederlands Agronomisch Historisch instituut, Netherlands

Paper 4: The interaction between industry and agriculture and social networks in the making of Kvänum as an industrial district: a local perspective on economic clusters of agriculture industries [+]

Lars Nyström, Gothenburg University, Sweden

Paper 5: The highest stage of food capitalism: the rise of retailing within Spain’s dairy chain (1960-present) [+]

Fernando Collantes, University of Zaragoza, Spain

Paper 6: The evolution of the olive oil cluster in southern and western Catalonia, 19th and 20th centuries [+]

Ramon Ramon-Muñoz, University of Barcelona, Spain


Suggested deadline for sending completed papers 31 july 2015

© 2014 Rural History 2015