• The growing attention to sustainable food production and multifunctional agriculture calls for a general perspective of farming that is able to grasp the social, technical, and economical aspects of a farm and the dynamic relationship between the farm enterprises and the surrounding world. The dominating theories within rural sociology reveal their shortcomings when they are applied to grasp the dynamic entity of a farm enterprise and its co-evolution with the structural surroundings, market, technology, knowledge, policy etc. The claim of this paper is that a new concept of a farm enterprise as a self-organizing social system can serve as a fruitful framework for studying the development of multifunctional agriculture in a changing global society. In this framework, each farm is understood as a self-organizing node in a complex of heterogeneous socio-technical networks of food, supply, knowledge, technology etc. This implies that a farm has to be understood as the way in which these network relationships are organised by the farm as a self-organizing social system. Among all the different possible ways in which to interact with the surrounding world, the system has to select a coherent strategy in order to make the farming processes possible at all. It will be discussed how this framework may add to the understanding of the continuous development of a heterogeneity of farm strategies and contribute to a more comprehensive view of the fields of regulation and extension. ()
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  • Farm enterprises as self-organizing systems: A new framework for studying farm enterprises? ()


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