Common Agricultural Policy “Experts” in the Confédération Paysanne Farmers’ Union: Understanding the Social Logic of Farmer Representation

Special Report: Representing Farmers
By Élise Roullaud

Studies based on labor union or party representation logics bring to light a social distinction between activists and representatives due in particular to a discrepancy in economic and cultural capital, to the advantage of the latter. A sociological analysis of the selection of national representatives by the Confédération Paysanne farmers’ union, and more specifically of those considered “experts” on the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, shows further distinctive processes at work. This paper reveals not only the importance of specific activist capital but also the significance of organizational methodologies in the selection of union representatives. By focusing on the notion of experts, it further demonstrates the relativity of activist resources, whose value depends on their organizational context.

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