Societal Conditions to Produce Effective Knowledge on Sustainable Food Security at Global Level: A System Theoretical Narrative from African Cases

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:45 AM
Room: Booth 61
Oral Presentation
Gian L. NICOLAY , FiBL, Frick, Switzerland
This paper aims at presenting consequences if we conceive the concept of Food Security (FS) as normative. The intention of FS is to create conditions, where no human being is unsecured with food. Such livelihood conditions have to be instituted in social systems. The international community has declared the war against hunger as well proclaimed the Universal Human Rights - including the Right to Food- over 60 years ago. Still, around 1 billion people go hungry to bed and 2 to 3 other billion suffer from malnutrition. The various disciplines of sciences dealing with FS- agricultural sciences, economy, sociology and others- are far from providing effective knowledge in order to solve the problem. If these observations are correct, than the main question arises: what can be done better within sciences in general and what can sociological observation contribute in particular? We test four hypotheses based on the Luhmannian systems theory but limited to African cases. (1) The normative character of FS has to be enforced and institutionalized in order to guide both science and practice. (2) The full and equal involvement of peasants, farmers, indigenous communities and social movements has to be enforced in all major scientific and technology development processes, in order to repair environmental damages done and enhancing FS. (3) More resources need to be mobilized by the various collectivities in order to educate a new generation of agricultural scientists and citizen enlightened with social sciences methods and ethics, (4) in order to transform the current faulty food and agriculture into sustainable, just and viable systems, languages have to be used which are understood by people. Recognized indigenous knowledge will result as a new regulative force and strengthen not only the functional system of Food and Agriculture, but contribute to more balanced rural-urban relations and sustainable livelihoods.