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Social capital and short food supply chains: Evidence from Fisheries Local Action Groups

Lookup NU author(s): Richard Freeman, Professor Jeremy Phillipson, Professor Matthew GortonORCiD, Dr Barbara ToccoORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Sociologia Ruralis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Society for Rural Sociology. Fisheries and coastal economies across Europe have witnessed substantial structural changes that have brought about challenges for territorial cohesion and social renewal within the fishing sector. Notably, there has been a disconnect between the industry and local communities, with fisheries largely producing commodities for wide-ranging and often distant markets. In response, short food supply chains (SFSCs) are often an important element of the local development strategies of Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs), being regarded as a possible mechanism for increasing added value and (re-)localising the sector to aid territorial development. This article examines the conditions that lead to SFSCs having a higher market share in a FLAG area. Drawing on social capital theory, we employ a novel fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis approach using survey data from FLAG managers from across Europe, in what is a first empirical attempt to apply the method in the context of community-led local development. The analysis pays particular attention to the three dimensions of social capital—structural, normative-cognitive and network governance—and finds that while different combinations of social capital can lead to a stronger presence of SFSCs, certain types of social capital are more conducive to SFSCs depending on the nature of territorial factors.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Freeman R, Phillipson J, Gorton M, Tocco B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sociologia Ruralis

Year: 2023

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 05/10/2023

Acceptance date: 11/09/2023

Date deposited: 26/10/2023

ISSN (print): 0038-0199

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9523

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/soru.12455


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