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Abstract

This paper is written from a sociology of science/rhetoric of science perspective. The paper critiques the central rhetorical constructions of neoclassical economic studies as applied to agricultural cooperative conversions. Conversions refer to the internal re-structurings, sell-outs, and hybridizations of cooperative organizational form to investment oriented structures. Neoclassical economics analyses of conversions are based within an "individualist-idealist" metaphor. This metaphor, as articulated in neo-classical economics, does not allow the scientist to see historical and sociological aspects of cooperatives, and broader, more holistic implications of conversions. We argue for broadening the conversation to include social materialist, and social voluntarist metaphors, for more complete expression of the practical implications of the conversion of agricultural cooperatives, and to suggest the importance of self-awareness in doing science.

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