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Abstract

During the past fifteen years Finnish agricultural, agri-environmental and rural policies have undergone signifi cant changes. Structural changes of agriculture, emphasis on the joint production of food and public goods, as well as the recognition of general multifunctional nature of agriculture and rural activities have all contributed to the policy change. The term multifunctionality has been used in various ways in the agricultural and rural policy debate, depending on the political agenda and on the context in which it has arisen. From the theoretical point of view, it is of particular interest due to its various dimensions. This paper addresses the role of the notion of multifunctionality in the development of the Finnish agri-environmental policy. The main finding is that the concept of multifunctionality is closely related to the formation of a new advocacy coalition in the agri-environmental policy subsystem. However, it is not seen that the concept has much to contribute to agricultural, agri-environmental or rural policy. It seemingly acts for consensus in the policy field but it has hardly been used as a conceptual tool for creating any new space for integrative policy framing.

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