Another call for papers: Post-neoliberal food transitions

We are looking for papers for a session at the XXVI European Society for Rural Sociology Congress (http://www.esrs2015.eu/WG2 )

The session is: Post-neoliberal food transitions

 Co-conveners: Jessica Duncan [1], Damian Maye [2], Egon Noe [3], Markus Schermer [4]; Discussant: Gianluca Brunori [5]

1: Wageningen University, Netherlands; 2: University of Gloucestershire; 3: Aarhus University; 4: University of Innsbruck; 5: University of Pisa

There is growing recognition that neoliberal food system models, dominant since the late 1970s, may no longer be ‘fit-for-purpose’. In this regard, ‘business as usual’ responses are being seen as no longer able to deal with increasingly complex sets of food system pressures (e.g., climate change, peak oil, food security) and a new ‘post-neoliberal’ paradigm of food system governance is arguably starting to manifest. This paradigm recognises the need to enact more ‘radical’ changes across food system practices and is made visible through a number of new initiatives that have emerged with the aim to re-organise and re-embed food practices and markets into wider social relations. These practices span from agro-ecological approaches on the producer side and to new dietary practices on the consumer side.

From this starting point, this working group will examine recent food system practices through multiple lenses, including post-neoliberalism, transition and post-normal science. It questions:

  • How is the dominant food system developing rules, regulations and actions to respond to new challenges and greater complexity?
  • Which types of niche activities are emerging to support a transition towards food-related practices that are more just and sustainable?
  • How do neoliberal arguments such as individual responsibility, local substitutions to former welfare state schemes, or the replacement of public by private regulations correspond to arguments focused on civic virtues like fairness and solidarity?

This session will bring together researchers from across the social sciences to present and interrogate a range of food-related transitions. We invite the submission of abstracts that engage with one or more of the following themes:

  • (Post)neoliberal food systems and discourses
  • Post-normal science and food chains
  • Theories of innovation, complexity, social practice, resilience, transition
  • Methodologies for assessing food chain performance
  • Food system transitions in rural, urban and/or rural-urban contexts
  • Global, national, regional and local food chain dynamics
  • Sustainable intensification
  • Sustainable diet
  • Agro-ecology, food sovereignty, smallholders, family farms
  • Territorial agri-food initiatives
  • New partnerships and governance arrangements between food chain actors
  • Arguments and visions endorsed by stakeholders in “transition arenas”

Participants are asked to reflect on whether these practices and models are compatible with the neoliberal ordering of the mainstream food system, whether they can, and should, exist alongside or in opposition to the current ordering, or have the potential to alter it substantially.

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