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Title: Rural restructuring and information systems : analysis in New Zealand, Northern Ireland and Canada
Author: McCann, Jude Martin
ISNI:       0000 0001 3622 803X
Awarding Body: Queen's University of Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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In 1984 the New Zealand government abruptly withdrew almost all state support for agriculture. This thesis examines the social impact of this action using Northern Ireland and Prince Edward Island (Canada) as a basis for comparison. The aim is to explain the response of fanners and fann households to the withdrawal of state support as a means to identifying mechanisms or strategies to better manage change elsewhere. Specific attention is paid to the changing role of the farm infonnation system and the broader impact of agricultural change on the rural economy. This research shows that while the number of fanners in New Zealand who lost their fann as a direct consequence of the 1984 refonns was fewer than anticipated, the social impact of the policy changes were widespread, severe and prolonged. The thesis identifies a sequence of changes. In the immediate aftennath of the refonns fanners closed their fann gates and tried to survive through a process of self exploitation and consolidation. There is little evidence of effort to diversify although many fanns only survived through the availability of off-farm income. Subsequently, fanners moved on to a phase of reconstruction and diversification. This in tum has resulted in the establishment of new, economically viable production systems broadly in line with social, economic and political needs. The thesis highlights the importance of cultural and social factors in mediating the economic impact of change and fanners' response to change and concludes that social capital is the primary factor in supporting adaptive change and identifies specific initiatives to build social capital and support resilience in rural communities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available