Agricultural tenancy reform: the end of law; or a new popular culture?
Gibbard, R. and Ravenscroft, N., (1997) Agricultural tenancy reform: the end of law; or a new popular culture? Working Papers in Land Management & Development. 03/97. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp24.
This paper applies a reading of the postmodernisation of law to the incremental reform of agricultural holdings legislation over the last century. In charting the shifting legal basis of agricultural tenancies, from ‘black letter’ positivism to the cultural contextuality of sumptuary law, the paper theorises that the underlying political imperative has been allied to the changing significance of property ownership and use. Rather than reflecting the long-term official desire to maintain the let sector in British agriculture, however, the paper argues that this process has had other aims. In particular, it has been about an annexation of law to legitimise the retention of landowner power while presenting a rhetorical ‘democratisation’ of farming, away from its plutocratic associations and towards a new narrative of ‘depersonalised’ business.