Contested Sustainability Discourses: From Food Sovereignty to Sustainable Intensification. Part I

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Prominentenzimmer (Main Building)
RC40 Sociology of Agriculture and Food (host committee)

Language: English

This session invites paper submissions that critically investigate contested discourses on sustainability in the agrifood sector. As the legitimation crisis of the conventional agrifood system accelerated, numerous alternative movements emerged to provide a counter-position to the hegemonic discourse of industrial agriculture. Organics, Fair Trade, local, civic agriculture, geographic indicators, and food sovereignty represent counter-movements grounded in discourses centered on sustainability instead of productivity and efficiency. 
Numerous metrics and standards initiatives have emerged to rationalize and certify sustainability. Paul Thompson (2010) divides sustainability discourses into three broad categories: economic approaches that focus on technological innovation to ensure supply exceeds demand; ecological approaches that focus on the long-term resilience of the agrifood system; and sociological approaches that focus on creating a collective banner under which a coalition of counter-hegemonic movements can create a just and sustainable agrifood system. 
As the legitimation crisis reached critical mass, the word “sustainable” has come into play as competing factions mobilize to capture the meaning of the term. Conventional agriculture proponents have counter-attacked utilizing discourses such as ecological modernization and sustainable intensification. Research indicates that the governance of these movements and sustainability initiatives is highly contested. Once the contest is completed, Larry Busch (2011) reminds us that the resulting standards become “recipes for reality.” Noted rural sociologist Fred Buttel warned us that we should not be surprised at the ability of conventional agriculture to “sustain the unsustainable.” We invite papers that critically investigate the issue of contested sustainability discourses in the agrifood sector.
Session Organizers:
Douglas CONSTANCE, Sam Houston State University, USA, Jason KONEFAL, Sam Houston State University, USA and Maki HATANAKA, Sam Houston State University, USA
(Re)Defining Sustainable Food Discourses in Philippine Cosmopolitan Spaces
Marvin Joseph MONTEFRIO, Yale-NUS College, Singapore
Emergence of Agrarian Prosumer (AP)
Sungwoong JUNG, Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University, Japan; Shuji HISANO, Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University, Japan; Joost JONGERDEN, Kyoto University, Japan