The state and agriculture in Wales
The thesis examines the role of the state in the agriculture sector with particular emphasis on policy formation and it's effects on rural Wales. Sociological theories of the state are examined and an 'institutional' approach is adopted which focusses attention on the institutional actors in the policy process. Policy is made by these actors albeit under certain external constraints. A brief analysis of state intervention in the UK is provided. This is treated historically and traces the-changing pattern of state involvement in the industry. Likewise, the UK policy process is briefly examined and the main institutional actors are identified. At the Welsh level, the effects of state intervention on the structure of Welsh agriculture are documented. This is also treated historically. Attention is then directed to the Welsh institutional actors and their role in the agricultural policy process. In particular, the role of the Farmers' Unions is examined, looking closely at their relationships with state agencies. The activities of non-agricultural state agencies operating in rural Wales are also examined. The question is asked whether the traditional dominance of agricultural policy in the Welsh rural areas is about to come to an end. While some evidence is put forward to support this, the situation is by no means clear and no definitive answer can be provided. In conclusion, it is argued that the effects of past agricultural policies on the communities of rural Wales have been extremely damaging, and some reorientation of policy is clearly needed. However, the institutional. analysis indicates that such a reorientation will be extremely difficult to achieve.