Challenging Notions of Food Sovereignty – The Case of Hungarian Agri-Food System

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Prominentenzimmer (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Balint BALAZS, Environmental Social Science Research Group, Hungary
Social innovation (SI) in the agri food systems is a fairly new concept in Hungary that recently gained acknowledgment from civil society organizations and support for promoting among policymakers as well. In this paper we attempt to identify the emerging actors and networks around food sovereignty. We present a SI case study of an organisational member of Via Campesina with good relations to the ruling political coalition and government as well as a loose bottom-up network of civic organisations that pushes forward the issue of food sovereignty for long. We map the main issues that have been promoted by these initiatives in Hungary such as e.g. exemptions for small scale producers, land privatisation and land grabbing. We build on our own qualitative inquiry to identify common threads and paradoxes in the complex understandings of social innovation. Our results also point to different understandings of the “social” and “innovation” component as interpreted by various stakeholders. The paper analyses the dynamics and agency of social innovation by looking at the genealogy of these initiatives, connections to other networks, related actors and also their practices on the everyday and political level. Our analysis highlights how the issue of food sovereignty is framed differently by the top-down and bottom-up initiatives in the agri-food system.