Area of Knowledge: Interdisciplinary (sub-area: Environment and Agrarian)

Evaluation area: Interdisciplinary


Area of Concentration: Family Farms and Sustainable Development


The area of ​​concentration of the course is Family Farming and Sustainable Development, in the Environment and Agrarian sub-area of ​​the Interdisciplinary knowledge area. This area of ​​concentration encompasses the production of theoretical and empirical knowledge on agrarian and environmental issues, being delimited by the focus on family farming and sustainable development, with the Amazon as a reference, but which may cover other agrarian and environmental contexts.

In this approach, family farming is considered not only as an activity in itself (whether agricultural, extractive or animal husbandry) carried out by family units, but as a result of their relations with the biophysical environment and, above all, their social and economic relations , permeated by the political forces fostered in society and by the State. The social actors we privilege in this concentration area take on different names: family farmers, peasants, rural workers, settlers, landless people, quilombolas, coconut breakers, among others. For their study, researchers cover several theories and concepts such as peasantry and family farming; while for the implementation of public policies, government agents categorize them as small producers, family farmers, agrarian reform clients or traditional peoples and communities.

The course deals with the different conceptions about Family Farming, generated in academic debates, but also in governmental and non-governmental organizations. In the legislation, for example, family farming is defined as a “Model of organization of agricultural production where the interaction between management and work, the direction of the productive process by the owners and the family work complemented by wage labor predominate” Law 11.326 / 2006 (BRASIL, 2006). In the academy, authors like Nazareth Wanderley bring more dynamic reflections, analyzing the family farmer as the social subject of peasant tradition, whose unit of production and consumption is the family. Even when he owns the means of production and the labor force, he remains subject to asymmetric social relations characterized by the economic, social and political dominance of large landowners (WANDERLEY, 2004) and, more recently, of entrepreneurs associated with large international production circuits. commodities. The family-production-work association, which gives the family character in this type of agriculture, determines a specific form of economic and social, and even political, action. Family Farming has great diversity due to the possibilities of combining property, work, time and space (LAMARCHE, 1993). Despite the specificities, family farming has been threatened by the subtraction of technical and economic support, by environmental crises caused by predatory practices over which it has little control and by the concentration of natural resources.

The considerations on Sustainable Development have as their starting point the break with conceptions restricted to economic growth indices, notably the product and income per capita. Other indicators of social well-being and human development (SEN, 2010) and of a non-predatory relationship with the environment (SACHS, 2015) are considered fundamental. Therefore, sustainability only makes sense if it considers spatial, social, environmental, cultural and economic dimensions, in a procedural perspective that relates society and nature.


Brazil. Law No. 11,326, of July 24, 2006. [Accessed on 11/27/2017]

LAMARCHE, Hugues (coord.). A agricultura familiar: uma realidade multiforme. Campinas: Unicamp, 1993.

SACHS, Jeffrey D. 2015. The Age of Sustainable Development. New York: Columbia University Press.

SEN, Amartya. Desenvolvimento como liberdade. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2010.

WANDERLEY, Maria Nazareth B. Agricultura familiar e campesinato: rupturas e continuidade. Estudos So- ciedade e Agricultura (UFRJ), v. 21, 2004, p. 42-61.


Line 1

Sustainability of Family Farming in the Amazon


It studies the various factors that influence the agricultural and / or extractive production of family farmers and their sustainability, with an emphasis on ecologically based systems in different agroecosystems in the Amazon. From a theoretical point of view, it uses different approaches, mainly the systemic one in the perspective of sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. It considers the interactions between society and nature, the construction of technical references and the local knowledge produced by farmers and extractivists. It reflects on the transformations and alternatives of agricultural and extractive production in the face of local, regional and global dynamics.


Line 2

Economic, cultural and socio-environmental dynamics in rural development in the Amazon.


It analyzes the relations established between society and nature, focusing on public action, social reproduction and collective action referring to Family Farming in the context of sustainable development, as a field of dispute. From a theoretical point of view, it is anchored in classic and contemporary theories that assume the social, economic, political and cultural specificity of peasant societies and the diversity of forms of organization and responses to changes in society and the State. He considers that the different forms of work and the agricultural and / or extractive family organization are at the center of the current processes of transformation of the Amazonian society, marked by the local, regional dynamics, by the action of the State and by the insertion of the Amazon in the globalized market.