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Professor Hugh Campbell

Professor Hugh Campbell


Dr. Hugh Campbell is Chair of Sociology as well as Head of the Department of Sociology, Gender & Social Work at the University of Otago. He was also the Director of CSAFE from 2000 to 2010. He comes from the Waikato, with family in Hawkes Bay sheep farming and Taranaki dairying. A long-term interest in issues involving agriculture and food has stayed with him in his subsequent career as a social scientist. Upon completing a Masters in Social Anthropology at the University of Otago, he then took his Ph.D. in Rural Sociology at the Centre for Rural Social Research, Charles Sturt University, New South Wales. When he returned to the University of Otago in 1994, he developed a series of university courses on rural society in New Zealand and on the global politics of food.

Since 1995, Hugh has had a leadership role in two large research projects funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI). From 1995-2002, he was the Programme Leader of an MSI-funded programme, Greening Food: Social and Industry Dynamics. This programme examined the social and economic dimensions of developing sustainable agriculture in New Zealand. Specifically, the programme examined the development of organic production and Integrated Pest Management systems by food export organisations like Zespri and ENZA. This provided a strong research base for Hugh's subsequent interest in food auditing, new governance structures in food chains, environmental auditing, and the necessity to shift New Zealand food exporting from ?quantities to qualities.?

Since 2003, Hugh has co-led the social research objective in the MSI-funded Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS) Programme. This programme is considered to be the largest current study of ?farm-scale? sustainability in the world. Working with the kiwifruit, dairy, and sheep/beef sectors, the ARGOS programme has brought together 30 researchers from Otago and Lincoln Universities, and from the Agribusiness Group in Christchurch. It is undertaking a long-term study of social, economic and environmental dynamics on a group of over 100 farms and orchards in New Zealand.

Apart from his work in leading research programmes, Hugh has also published research findings on the social dynamics of rural New Zealand, food systems and agriculture. He has edited two books and published in the international journals Sociologia Ruralis, Rural Sociology, Agriculture and Human Values, Journal of Rural Studies, and the International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Current & Recent Research Projects

  • Rural Futures: Building adaptive management capability to deliver sustainable pastoral farm systems
  • Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS): Social Objective and Extensions 2.1 & 2.2
  • Biological Economies: Knowing and making new rural value relations
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