This collective volume is the outcome of an experiment in transdisciplinary scientific research started in 2012 with the creation at the University of Salento (Italy) of a group of researchers called LAIR (an acronym for “Law and Agroecology – Ius et Rus”), and continued in 2013 with the organisation of an International Conference in Lecce entitled "Agroecology and Law: A Transdisciplinary Dialogue". On the level of the academic training of the authors, the approach based on transdisciplinarity explains why in the volume are included, besides legal scholars, also scholars of ecology, landscape ecology, agronomy, food governance, chemistry, engineering, history of agroecosystems and political institutions, rural sociology, and ethics. Among the legal scholars are representatives of various fields: from Roman law to international and comparative law; from constitutional, public, and administrative law to private and agricultural law; from environmental and landscape law to consumer law. Rus, the rural phenomenon in its wholeness, marks the plurality and the interdependence of different complex systems based jointly on the land as a central point of reference. “Rural” is more than “agricultural”: if agriculture is understood traditionally as an activity aimed at exploiting the land for the production of material goods for use, consumption, and private exchange, rurality marks the reintegration of agriculture into a wider sphere, not only economic, but also social and cultural; not only material, but also ideal, relational, historic, and symbolic; not only private, but also public. Natural and social sciences, in approaching rus, at first became specialized, multiplied, and compartmentalized in a plurality of first-order disciplines; later, they have set up a process of integration into Agroecology as a second-order, polyocular, and common research platform. Today, Agroecology is a transdiscipline that integrates other fields of knowledge into the concept of agroecosystem viewed as a socio-ecological system. Law seems instead to be frozen at the first stage. Following a reductionistic approach, Law has deconstructed and shattered the universe of rus into disjointed legal elementary particles, multiplying the planes of analysis and regulation and, in particular, keeping separate Agricultural Law and Environmental Law. This book is a first attempt to investigate the relations between Law and Agroecology. There is a need for a transdisciplinary approach to multifunctional agriculture in order to integrate agroecological paradigm in legal regulation. This does not require a super-law that hierarchically purports to incorporate and replace the existing legal fields; it requires constructing a trans-law that progressively attempts to coordinate interlegalities between different legal fields, respecting their autonomy but emphasizing their common roots in rus.
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