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PIRES, Maria Luiza Lins e Silva. Cooperatives and production dynamics in disadvantaged areas: the case of small agricultural cooperatives in southern France. Sociologias [online]. 2011, vol.13, n.26, pp.228-261. ISSN 1517-4522.

This work aims to identify the production arrangements developed by family farmers within the family unit and in cooperatives, assessing its impact on the area in terms of creation and expansion of social capital. It also tries to identify the strategies used by cooperatives to deal with the local adversities, which provide them with particular dynamics. Do the cooperatives stimulate the mobilization of their members towards organizational and technological innovations? What is the impact in terms of increase of the social capital and advancement of the territories? In the analysis of these issues, the article examines a qualitative survey conducted in southern France, with reference to two case studies - Société Coopérative Agricole Fromagerie des Cévennes and Coopérative Origine Cévennes. In both cases, the emphasis has been on the know-how and leadership of the local agents, which are seen as "subjects of their own development," rather than "objects of study." The study reveals the limits and the power of a cooperative; even if it is separated by a considerable distance from the centers of distribution, and suffers from high operating costs, arid lands and infrastructure problems. These cases are particularly important to reinforce the importance of the cooperatives, especially in areas considered disadvantaged.

Palavras-chave : Cooperatives; Production arrangements; Social capital; Disadvantaged areas; Local development.

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