Food policy panels @ political studies conferences: 2 calls for abstracts

Just a quick post to share links to two calls for abstracts for very interesting international conferences. I have added links to the sessions that I will be co-chairing.

  • International Conference on Public Policy
    Singapore, June 28-30, 2017

T03P04 – Uncovering Politics in Public Policies for Agriculture and Food

  • European Consortium for Political Research
    Oslo, Norway, 6-9 September 2017

Section 69: The Politics of Food Governance

International Conference on Public Policy
Singapore, June 28-30, 2017

T03P04 – Uncovering Politics in Public Policies for Agriculture and Food

While policy-making is an inherently political practice, formal and informal governance arrangements that coordinate contemporary policy debates and processes are often organised in ways that have de-politicising effects. In western countries for example, there is evidence of an increasing disconnect between, on the one hand, election-based politics and, on the other hand, public policy decisions, leading to the rise of what The Economist has called “post-truth” politics. More generally, the globalisation of governance has accentuated this disconnection, with debates dominated by experts and technocrats and political decisions taken increasingly further away from the person in-the-street/citizen-voter. The increasing weight of private regulations in contemporary forms of governance adds another dimension to this phenomenon.

These trends are particularly acute in the field of food and agriculture, with a clear tendency towards the internationalization of crucial policy processes, global multi-stakeholder platforms, mushrooming of global private voluntary standards, data-driven indicators with related monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and consensus-based decision-making processes. In different ways, these practices serve to conceal relations of power and the agendas of particular actors in the name of consultation, participation, and democracy. Alongside these broader trends, the dominant logic that has informed agriculture and food policy since the end of the Second World War has come under attack. The green revolution model of agriculture (i.e., the specialisation of agriculture dependent on fossil-fuel based inputs industrialization and uniformisation of consumption habits) has been the dominant approach advanced to grow food and feed people. This model has systematically informed agri-food public policy-making and in return public policies have tended to facilitate its implementation. However, this model has now come under scrutiny worldwide.  Critics argue that structural changes to practices, rules, and institutions are needed to ensure a transition towards just and sustainable agri-food systems. To do so requires recognition of the diverse political dynamics that operate across agri-food policy spaces.

Given the context, this panel proposes to explore the extent to, and the conditions under which, policy processes are being influenced by these critics, and reversely how critics are resisted and neutralised. More specifically, the panel aims at understanding the diverse ways in which politics are inserted or hidden in agri-food policy spaces, by exploring debates and controversies, their interconnections at various scales of governance, and their (dis)connection to policy-making.

The panel will include papers that focus on the actors that are engaged in policy debates and controversies, the visions they promote, the resources they have to influence the discussions, and how they engage in political struggles and legitimation processes of different models for agriculture and food. Papers will focus on the dynamics of policy debates, including the role of scientists, media coverage, civil society, and the private sector. Papers will interrogate and elucidate spaces where policy decisions are taken, paying attention to practices that either depolitize the inherently political process of public policy-making for food and agriculture, or seek to re-polititize public policy-making spaces and debates.

The objective of the panel is to advance understanding of, and theorization on, the political dimension of public policies (i.e., policy debates, policy-making processes, policy instruments) in the field of agri-food policies, in line with a growing body of literature claiming the emergence of a post-political era.

This panel proposes to explore the extent to, and the conditions under which, policy processes are being influenced by these critics, and reversely how critics are resisted and neutralised. We aim at understanding the diverse ways in which politics are inserted or hidden in agri-food policy spaces, by exploring debates and controversies, their interconnections at various scales of governance, and their (dis)connection to policy-making. Papers should aim to:

  • Identify and analyse ways in which actors insert or mask politics and issues of power into public policy debates and processes;
  • Reflect on similarities, differences and interconnections across the practices, tactics and strategies used by actors to politicise policy spaces in a globalized world; and/or,
  • Comment and advance theorizing on emerging trends across the debates of food governance and the potential of different categories of actors to envisage alternative scenarios and affect the policy process.

 

European Consortium for Political Research
Oslo, Norway, 6-9 September 2017

Section 69: The Politics of Food Governance

During this conference we welcome Panels and Papers that critically analyze the struggle for power at the global level in relation to food governance. Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 2 which aims to eradicate hunger, many public and private players have been engaged in a benevolent and concerted action to reach the goals in 2030. At the same time international markets are globalizing leaving smallholders and other food producers as price takers, leaving them increasingly vulnerable and dependent. Organized (EU) farmers are also seriously affected by the globalization of food governance and the liberalization of the world markets. And all together it results in a complex power dynamic between emancipating smallholder social movements, resiliency-testing farmers from the EU, power/profit seeking multinationals, NGOs and governments.

These trends lead to shifting power relations both at the global, national, local level. The arenas where decisions are made and governance is shaped are changing. The arenas are becoming increasingly fragmented, changing the composition of players coming to the table. Furthermore, food governance players appear to be taking advantage of this fragmentation by forum shifting, opting to participate in fora that will best represent their interests. The responsibility of steering and monitoring food governance appears to be shifting from public agencies to transnational companies.

Given this context, we propose 4 Panels that welcome Papers addressing some of the following questions:

  •  Who is monitoring the progress of the sustainability goals and how? Who has access to data and who “owns” the data? Who designs the processes/algorithm to monitor progress?
  • How are different players playing the game of food politics across different food governance context? How are antagonisms addressed?
  • What are the effects of globalization on international governance structures: e.g. how do social movements empower and emancipate? What opportunities and challenges can be identified?
  • What evidence is emerging for transitions in food governance? Are multi-stakeholder approaches or integrated food systems approaches that encompass multiple themes, players, values and problems a suitable way forward?
  • How does the design and functioning of decision-making spaces impact delivery. What lessons can be learned to improve or hinder the efficacy of policy implementation?

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