Hanno JentzschAug 11, 2021
Harvesting State Support
Institutional Change and Local Agency in Japanese Agriculture
University of Toronto Press 2021
Agriculture has been among the toughest political battlegrounds in postwar Japan and represents an ideal case study in institutional stability and change. Inefficient land use and a rapidly aging workforce have long been undermining the economic viability of the agricultural sector. Yet vested interests in the small-scale, part-time agricultural production structure have obstructed major reforms. Change has instead occurred in more subtle ways. Since the mid-1990s, a gradual reform process has dismantled some of the core pillars of the postwar agricultural support and protection regime. Harvesting State Support analyzes this process by shifting the analytical focus to the local level.
In Harvesting State Support: Institutional Change and Local Agency in Japanese Agriculture (U Toronto Press, 2021), Hanno Jentzsch investigates how local actors, including farmers, local governments, and local agricultural cooperatives, have translated abstract policies into local practice. Showing how local variants are constructed through recombining national reforms with the local informal institutional environment, Harvesting State Support reveals new links between agricultural reform and other shifts in Japan’s political economy. This is an important book that should be read by anyone interested in the intersection of local and larger institutions as they influence agriculture in post-industrial society.
John W. Traphagan, Ph.D. is Professor and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a professor in the Program in Human Dimensions of Organizations.