Joost Dessein

Joost Dessein
Ghent University | UGhent · Department of Agricultural Economics

Professor
Teaching and research in the field of rural sociology, food governance and peasant movements in North and South

About

105
Publications
43,493
Reads
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2,027
Citations
Citations since 2016
50 Research Items
1596 Citations
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Introduction
Joost Dessein (°1971) is Associate Professor at the Department of Agricultural Economics (Ghent University); and member of the Centre for Sustainable Development (Ghent University). Joost holds a degree in agricultural engineering (1994) and a master and PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology (2002). His teaching and research are in the field of Sociology of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Joost is the President of the ESRS - the European Society for Rural Sociology.
Additional affiliations
February 2018 - present
Ghent University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2007 - present
Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (105)
Article
Full-text available
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) adjusts to changes in its socioecological system (SES). We focus on understanding if and how TEK´s spiritual, social, and ecological aspects relate to each other and examine the main socioecological factors that impact the transmission of TEK within and across generations. Based on quantitative and qualitative...
Article
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This study is focused on unsustainable agri-food systems, especially intensive livestock farming and its resulting environmental harms. Specifically we focus on the development of technologies that seek to mitigate these environmental harms. These technologies are generally developed as incremental innovations in response to government regulation....
Article
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The concept of inclusive innovation has become widely embraced in the agricultural domain and promises to overcome traditional innovation paradigms by emphasizing more balanced, sustainable, and just human-environmental relations. Indigenous and local knowledge play an increasingly important role in debates about inclusive innovation, highlighting...
Article
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1. Including different forms of knowledges and views in decision-making is crucial to managing the complexity of social-ecological systems (SES) in ways that are inclusive and embrace diversity. 2. Sense of place scholarship can explain subjectivity in SES; however, it has hardly been considered together with the literature on knowledge processes,...
Article
City-to-city learning processes have gained importance around the world. However, few cities have given systemic thought to which knowledge travels and in which way. This paper analyzes the traveling of ideas in a city-to-city learning arena. Using a qualitative case study approach, and addressing a gap in empirical cases, it explores the travel of...
Article
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Integrated water management is complex and requires the participation of diverse actors to identify and implement transformative solutions. However, power relations can obstruct the more inclusive and equitable experiences of participatory approaches, hence limiting the empowerment of vulnerable groups. It is thus important to study how power relat...
Article
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The literature on migrants’ integration and wellbeing is ample, but the case of economic-asylum seekers in a protracted asylum application system is yet to receive sufficient attention. The economic-asylum seekers are a unique group who migrate with an economic motive but apply for asylum to achieve economic integration in the host country. We use...
Article
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More and more cities develop urban food strategies (UFSs) to guide their efforts and practices towards more sustainable food systems. An emerging theme shaping these food policy endeavours, especially prominent in North and South America, concerns the enhancement of social justice within food systems. To operationalise this theme in a European urba...
Article
Empirical evidence increasingly suggests that while the uptake of agroecology brings significant benefits to ecosystems, health, and communities, yet achieving a transition towards agroecology can still be complicated. In this article we contribute to this literature by offering a power-sensitive analysis of the transition towards agroecology. We b...
Article
Based on extensive field information, farmer-led small-scale irrigation systems along the dam-regulated Tekeze River is investigated and the likelihood of future irrigation expansion within the area with modelled potential is discussed, considering facilitating and hampering factors. Due to dam-induced hydrologic alterations, downstream socio-ecolo...
Article
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Understanding the complex process of generational renewal (GR) in agriculture is essential for supporting the continuation of farming. This paper demonstrates how multiple factors, simultaneously and through their mutual interactions, influence GR and related individual decision-making processes. Results originated from 155 in-depth interviews perf...
Article
Motivation In Cameroon, most land earmarked for allocation to foreign investors is communally owned. The state, however, considers such land as “empty” or “underutilized”—a faulty designation that confers upon the Cameroonian state and state representatives sweeping authority to allocate lands to potential investors without full consultation with c...
Article
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Digital technologies are often seen as an opportunity to enable sustainable futures in agriculture and rural areas. However, this digital transformation process is not inherently good as it impacts on many aspects (e.g. economic, environmental, social, technological, institutional) and their relations. The responsible research and innovation approa...
Article
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This research identifies critical determinants for interactions between farmers and extension agencies. Cross-sectional farm household-level data from three hundred household heads were collected between September 2019 and March 2020 and triangulated with data from workshops with farmers and extension agents. The data were analyzed using Spearman’s...
Article
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Purpose An Agricultural Innovation System (AIS) is a collaborative governance (CG) arrangement which brings together several actors in the agriculture sector forming an innovation platform (IP). This study presents findings of CG dynamics obtained from an IP. Design/Methodology/Approach : A qualitative study used focus group discussions, key infor...
Article
The 21st century revival of large-scale water resources development projects makes it important to keep assessing their impacts – preferably from an interdisciplinary perspective – in order to not repeat past mistakes and explore whether they could improve livelihood conditions for rural communities. In this study, costs and benefits of the World B...
Article
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Purpose: Banana Bunchy Top Disease (BBTD) was first reported in Malawi in 1997. The major strategy used to deal with BBTD required banana growers to uproot and burn all their bananas and replace them with disease-free imported planting materials. This had limited success only. This paper uses an actor-oriented approach to explain this experience by...
Article
This article discusses the economic dimensions of agroecological farming systems in Europe. It firstly theoretically elaborates the reasons why, and under what conditions, agroecological farming systems have the potential to produce higher incomes than farms that follow the conventional logic. This theoretical exposition is then followed by a prese...
Article
Local food systems are increasingly receiving political support across the globe. As part of this trend, food policy councils (FPCs) are generally considered to be ideal governance platforms in the transition to just, sustainable and democratic localized food systems. However, insight into the governance processes to transform local food systems is...
Chapter
Over the decades, we have witnessed numerous changes in Dogu’a Tembien, not only concerning soil and water conservation, land management, or farmers’ livelihood, but also education or health. For instance, within one generation, female genital mutilation that was widespread has become extinct. Though living standards remain low, the interventions o...
Article
Despite public awareness of unintended impacts (1980s) and well-developed international standards (2000s), downstream impacts of large hydropower projects still very often are not properly assessed. Impacts of (hydropower-regulated) interbasin water transfers (IBWTs) are considered self-evidently positive, although they can have far-reaching conseq...
Article
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Food crises and ecologization have given rise to a Belgian dynamic that does not behave according to the conventional tripod of agroecology: practitioners, social movement, and scientists. Instead of simply recounting the history of Belgian agroecology, the authors trace the history and dynamics in Belgium), a journey along six strands that weave t...
Article
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Being more than mere passive objects used at human will, technologies co-determine the values and structures that shape the EU agricultural system. Technologies (in use) actively shape human interpretation, human action and co-shape our moral standards and routines. It is therefore important to account for the moral significance of agricultural tec...
Article
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Recently, democratic theorists have turned their attention to political representation. This renewed attention is inspired by a questioning of the formalist interpretation of representative government that presumes a strict division between elected political elites and deliberative participation in the public sphere. Several scholars argue that the...
Article
Value chain analysis is an important tool to assess and enhance the performance of agribusiness. This paper analyzes the empirical application of a conceptual framework known as the Rural Web to evaluate the socioeconomic complexity of a specific agribusiness value chain. This can be used as a complementary approach to traditional value chain analy...
Article
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Despite a fast-growing national consumer market for organic products and active governmental support for organic agriculture, organic production in Flanders has shown little growth since the late 1990s. Our discourse analytical approach offers important insights into the causes of the limited organic production capacity in Flanders complementary to...
Article
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This article explores the role of local particularism in relation to the global interest in urban agriculture (UA). A growing movement is advocating UA, but future prospects are limited by variability, unclear expectations, vague responsibilities and leadership in the UA movement. We wonder whether the poor understanding of UA governance is associa...
Article
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Several individual scholars and international organizations have attempted to conceptualize “culture” in its different meanings in sustainability. Despite those efforts, a tangle of different approaches are being used, reflecting the various disciplines and policy aims. In this paper we propose an interdisciplinary framework for identifying the dif...
Article
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As part of cities’ increasing commitment to sustainable development, local food systems are becoming a policy priority. In this article we focus on the case of a local food system in Ghent, Belgium. We adopt the notion of Hajer et al. (2015) that top-down steering of environmental issues (so-called “cockpit-ism”) is insufficient, incomplete and in...
Chapter
In this chapter, Dessein aims to understand and illustrate the process of territorialisation, with a focus on practices. He analyses coinciding rural development actions that take a natural resource (in casu saffron) as a catalyst for regional development. Drawing on empirical research on saffron cultivation in Morocco, he combines neo-endogenous d...
Chapter
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This chapter summarizes the main debates that have been discussed in the book, and illustrates them with examples from the book’s case studies. The chapter first explains why territorialisation is a useful concept. It then explores the relation between territorialisation and human agency, and the mediating role of culture. Next, it discusses the im...
Book
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Launching the concept of ‘territorialisation’, this book explores how the natural environment and culture are constitutive of each other. The concept of territorialisation allows us to study the characterisation of the natural assets of a place; the means by which the natural environment and culture interact; and how communities assign meaning to l...
Chapter
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Inspired by Francophone as well as Anglo-Saxon traditions, we combine geographically bounded and relational space, the natural and the cultural, the material and the immaterial, and bring the territory to the fore. By structuring the concept of ‘territorialisation’ in a three dimensional framework, we aim to show how the natural environment and cul...
Article
p>Industrial symbiosis (IS) is the coordination of energy and material flows among geographically proximate firms to increase economic performance while reducing environmental impact. Although IS is gaining popularity as a sustainability strategy, implementation is proving difficult. In an attempt to understand these roadblocks to implementation, w...
Conference Paper
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This paper presents the results of case study research on urban agriculture (UA) in Philadelphia. From a city region's perspective, the gamut of initiatives—including community engagement, policy advocacy, formal UA governance, enterprises and supporting organizations or institutions—are studied as an UA movement. By problematizing and scrutinizing...
Article
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Soy is often perceived as a typical example of a homogenous capitalist agricultural model that is responsible for ecological damage and social conflicts. But this monolithic perception of soy production can be challenged: more than 30 percent of the soy producers in Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) are family farmers. In this contribution, we study soy p...
Book
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Culture matters in sustainable development. Yet still, almost 30 years after the Brundtland publication ‘Our Common Future’ and despite a few recent attempts by transnational and international organisations, and some cross-disciplinary and transdisciplinary scientific endeavours, the incorporation of culture into sustainability debates seems to be...
Book
Full-text available
It should be obvious that culture matters to sustainable development. Yet almost 30 years after the Brundtland report ‘Our Common Future’ the incorporation of culture into sustainability debates seems to remain a great challenge, both scientifically and politically. There have been some recent attempts to bring culture into sustainability, by trans...
Article
Processes of globalisation, internationalisation and rescaling of statehood have led to an increased competition between regions. Place branding has become one of the central concepts for promoting local competitiveness and for capturing significant mind and market share. It is a promotional strategy that includes all activities that increase the a...
Article
The use of genetically modified (GM) crops and their applications is partially suppressed in European Union (EU) agriculture, even if one would expect otherwise given their complementarity with the neoliberal and industrialised EU agricultural regime in place. By applying a qualitative content analysis, this paper analyses how food manufacturers an...
Article
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Innovation is rarely considered a point of contention in agriculture. It invariably seems to denote some type of intrinsically desired newness associated with effective commercialization of a new technology, idea or organizational form. However, once innovation is considered as something happening within a network or 'system' of interdependent acto...
Conference Paper
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To respond to the challenges of sustainable farm development it is no longer sufficient for farmers to be a craftsman. Entrepreneurial and management skills are becoming an important requisite. Farmers are thus forced to learn and further professionalize in the field of entrepreneurship. The research aims to operationalize the complex multidimensio...
Article
In the European Union (EU), genetically modified (GM) crops are regarded as a socially-sensitive technology. At present, GM crops are rarely cultivated in the EU and non-genetically modified ingredients dominate the EU market. However, most consumers are unaware of the fact that many genetically modified ingredients (GMI) are present in EU supermar...
Article
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In 2011, a Belgian field trial with genetically modified crops triggered fierce public protests and debates. Opponents of the trial protested against its performance and some advocated its destruction, in response to which scientists and the government defended a scientific freedom to perform the trial. This article investigates why the different s...
Article
The European Union (EU) still retains genetically modified (GM) crop applications within its agriculture and on the EU market. The current EU non-GM crop regime is in fact a ‘fictitious’ or ‘virtual’ non-GM crop regime that has developed into a ‘wicked’ problem. Any progress towards resolving this impasse, either in favour of or against GM crops an...
Book
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De controverse rond de GGO-aardappelveldproef in Wetteren in 2011 was geen ideeënstrijd rond één, voor iedereen duidelijk omschreven wetenschappelijke proef. De posities van de verschillende betrokkenen in het debat zijn terug te voeren tot verschillende denkkaders die zich ontwikkelden in verschillende contexten (bijvoorbeeld natuurwetenschappelij...
Article
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European agriculture and rural areas are facing multiple socio-economic changes, including a transition from an agriculture-based to a service-based economy. This restructuring forces agricultural and rural actor-networks to reformulate their (self-)definitions. One reformulation prevailing both in policy and scientific circles focuses on the notio...