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In: The Horse as Cultural Icon

There is a need to use a systems approach to complement the traditional reductionist approaches of conventional science to ensure that development is both socially and environmentally sustainable. The systems approach is essentially three things: the philosophy or concept of holism, a study of the whole system; a physical system such as an aquaculture system located in a hierarchy of systems from organism, through enterprise and farm, to community, region, nation and the world; and methods for identifying and solving problems or identifying and exploiting opportunities. As most real world problems are complex, they require interdisciplinarity, most effectively provided by teams of natural and social scientists. A general, seven step systems methodology is outlined and a discussion of farming systems research and extension, with examples from aquaculture.

In: Fishponds in farming systems
In: Monarchy, the Court, and the Provincial Elite in Early Modern Europe 


In early modern England the regional elite not only dominated the rural shires socially, politically and economically, their reach extended into many towns too. From their country seats, which they ran as petty fiefdoms, they controlled the lives of thousands of inhabitants either directly or indirectly. They derived their income by letting out land to tenant farmers or to those who exploited other natural resources, or from exploiting those resources themselves. Socially, they met their peers at events such as the quarter sessions and assizes, at sporting occasions like hunting and horse racing or at gatherings at each other’s houses. Extensive patronage gave them local political influence, as did sitting on the magistrates’ bench, serving as sheriff or under-sheriff, or as a commissioner for the militia or the collection of taxes, as well as acting as the king’s representative in the shire as Lord- or Deputy-Lieutenant.

There was a metropolitan dimension too. Politically, the regional elite exerted an influence through attendance in one or other chamber of Parliament or by influencing the election of someone to the Commons. If these duties took them to London, so did waiting on the monarch at Court or pursuing a suit through one of the central law courts. As the number of elite sojourners in London increased from the late sixteenth century onwards, a social season developed, thereby attracting more people to the capital. Their presence there had a profound commercial effect too. In 1948, Jack Fisher published an essay on the development of London as a centre of conspicuous consumption in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, an essay which essentially marked the beginning of the debate on the consumer revolution. Writing of the situation in the United Provinces, de Vries distinguished between ‘old’ and ‘new’ luxuries, the former, which were purchased by the aristocracy and emphasized ‘grandeur or exquisite refinement’, could only be parodied by others, whereas the latter, bought by the prosperous middling orders, provided comfort, sociability and enjoyment.

In: Monarchy, the Court, and the Provincial Elite in Early Modern Europe 
A team of experts view the relationship between rulers and their leading subjects across Europe and further afield. If God-derived authority legitimized a monarch’s rule, it did not necessarily prevent opposition to perceived arbitrary government as subjects put forward the counter-concept of consensual rule. The provincial elite might serve the ruler as advisors and officers at court but they also possessed an independent source of power based on their extensive estates. While monarchs wanted to perpetuate a system in which they could watch over members of the regional elite at court and keep them busy, they sought to make use of them as local and provincial administrators, that is, as long as they remained loyal: a fraught balancing act.  

Contributors include: Hélder Carvalhal, Peter Edwards, Jemma Field, Cailean Gallagher, Pedro José Herades-Ruiz, Graeme S. Millen, Vita Malašinskiené, Tibor Monostori, Steve Murdoch, David Potter, Peter S. Roberts, Irene Maria Vicente-Martin, and Matthias Wong.
In: Monarchy, the Court, and the Provincial Elite in Early Modern Europe