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avatar for Assoc.Prof. Dr. Ika Darnhofer

Assoc.Prof. Dr. Ika Darnhofer

BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences)
Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Economics
Feistmantelstr. 4, 1180 Vienna, Austria
PhD (Graduate) Course Leader: Systems Thinking in Research Practice, 7 – 14 July

My research focus is on management and decision making on family farms.Although I appreciate the value of the various tools of neoclassical economics for informing farm management on the short-term and for commercial farms, I find they are limited in their ability to capture the complexity family farmers face, when making decisions over the medium to long term. I am also convinced that limiting ourselves to quantitative data and mathematical analysis curtails our ability to capture important aspects of events.Currently my research focuses on resilience as a primary management goal of family farmers. Although resilience thinking has primarily been applied at the spatial level of whole social-ecological systems, I believe that many principles can be applied at the farm level, and that these will help us understand how farmers manage their farm under real-life conditions.My second research focus is on transitions to sustainability in the agro-food system. Here I build on the multi-level perspective within transition studies to structure the analysis of - more or less successful - changes towards sustainability. In the analysis of societal dynamics, I also include insights from co-evolutionary thinking as well as the lessons from complex adaptive systems. My case study of choice to address these issues is the development of organic farming in Austria.