“The Missouri School” refers to a collection of faculty and students studying agrifood systems who have been connected to the Department of Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri–Columbia. Heavily influenced by the populist pragmatist William “Bill” Heffernan, Missouri School analysts focus their attention on structural arrangements, power relationships, and spaces in which struggle for change might result in alternatives to the prevailing system. This article is an introduction to the special issue of Southern Rural Sociology devoted to research and theorizing done by students and faculty of the Missouri School. It includes an overview of the development of the Missouri School as told by Heffernan himself, followed by a summary of the articles in this issue.

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