The politics of food governance: Final call for abstracts

This year the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) is meeting in September in Oslo, Norway.

We have a great session planned on “The politics of food governance“. Deadline to submit abstracts is February 15th.

To submit an abstract you do need to sign up on the ECPR website . You will get there directly if you click on “propose a paper”. If you submit, please indicate which panel you would like to be a part of (listed below).

Hope to see you in Oslo!

69. Session description:

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?


Panel 1: The politics of SDG2: ending hunger in an era of big data

Gerard Breeman (Leiden University, The Netherlands)

The second Sustainable Development Goal aims to eradicate global hunger by 2030. From a food governance perspective this is a rather challenging ambition, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, there is a variety of different governance initiatives, ideas, mechanism, and policies that could push us towards a pathway to reach this goal. In this panel we explore and discuss some of these possible pathways. We explore new information exchange channels, such as the use of big data to monitor food production and consumption, global benchmarking techniques, accountability frameworks, and private standards for enhancing sustainable food security. We explore both the sometimes troublesome link between global goals and local implementation as well as the goals set by donor countries and the interest put forward by the receiving countries.


Panel 2: The politics and practice of resistance and change in food policy

Jessica Duncan (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)
Eve Fouilleux (University of Montpellier, CNRS-CIRAD, France)

While policy-making is an inherently political practice, formal and informal governance arrangements that coordinate contemporary policy debates and policy-making are often organised in ways that have de-politicising effects. This session will contribute to calls for new modes of researching and producing policies capable of challenging the dominant neoliberal frame. 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.


Panel 3: Food security, transformation and multi-level governance

Antoine de Raymond (INRA, France)

Since the 2007-2008 food crisis, the way the world food security issue is discussed has deeply transformed, giving rise to new agricultural models as wells as holistic approaches including issues of poverty, health and nutrition. This panel will study how these transformations affect food security policies at various levels and in various places. This panel will welcome contributions about scenario building (“feeding the 9 billion in 2050”) and policy making in agriculture, the impact of global food security approaches on technology risk regulation, or the transformations of international food assistance and development policies.”

Panel 4: Internationalisation of food and agricultural policy

Carsten Daugbjerg (Australian National University, Australia)
Arild A. Farsund (University of Stavanger, Norway)

Food and agricultural policy-making is becoming more internationalised as national and sub-national policy domains are increasingly connected with international policy arenas. Internationalisation is defined as the ‘restructuring of power relations with the emergence of new supranational centres of political authority’ (Skogstad 2000). This transfer of political authority to an international institution (such as the WTO) can be an important factor affecting domestic policy-making. Internationalisation of public policy takes place in the intersection between domestic and international processes in which actors seek to establish, restructure or expand international policy institutions to enable policy coordination across borders. While it is recognised that food and agricultural policy is increasingly internationalised, the internationalisation processes are not well understood. This panel invites papers which explore the way in which international policy regimes relating to food and agricultural policy are formed and/or how such regimes affect domestic food and agriculture policy making.


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