A Network Analysis of Sustainability Governance: A Case Study of United States Agriculture

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Prominentenzimmer (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jason KONEFAL, Sam Houston State University, USA
Maki HATANAKA, Sam Houston State University, USA
Multi-stakeholder initiatives have become a leading mechanism for fostering sustainability transitions.  While often perceived as inclusive and democratic forms of governance, recent research raises questions regarding the role of power and politics in multi-stakeholder initiatives.  This paper presents a social network analysis of three agricultural sustainability multi-stakeholder initiatives in the United States: Field to Market, The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Standard Initiative.  Examining the social networks of participants in each of these initiatives, the connections and relationships of participants in the US agrifood system are documented.  The findings, first, indicate that certain interests are disproportionately represented in specific initiatives.  Second, they illustrate that the composition of members in multi-stakeholder initiatives influences the sustainability metrics and standards that are developed.