Prosumers and Social Innovation in Alternative Food Networks: Innovations in Cooperative Experiences

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:30-17:20
RC40 Sociology of Agriculture and Food (host committee)

Language: English

Food production, distribution and consumption are “laboratories” for experimentation in social innovation. These innovations blur the lines between production and consumption, foster the participation of marginalized actors, and encourage social change with potential to overcome pre-existing, exclusionary socio-economic arrangements. The literature on alternative agri-food networks, value chains and sustainable production systems often overlook or minimize the consumers’ role. Yet, the emergence and transformation of alternative food networks represent opportunities for rethinking the mundane economy and its alternative forms of valuation. Recent research explores the rise of prosumers (producer + consumer) as a new type of actor whose role is not limited to the purchase and consumption of goods and services, but rather is a creative and autonomous subject that, individually and collectively, creates new meanings, forms of exchange and even strategies of resistance. Prosumers try to re-shape global and local value chains by re-embedding economic exchanges, re-socializing technological arrangements or by promoting alternative production-consumption paradigms.

In this session, we explore and theorize prosumers and social innovation by inviting papers that can address a number of outstanding questions: what are their disruptive capacities? How are alliances between marginalized groups encouraging more sustainable production and consumption? Who are the actors in these innovations and what are the conditions that enable them to emerge? What effects do we see in broader agri-food systems and in their work practices? What are the main risks and opportunities of the 'digitalization' or ‘technologization’ of alternative food networks? How do social innovations and prosumers co-produce each other?

Session Organizers:
Davide ARCIDIACONO, University "Sacro Cuore" of Milan, Italy, Yuna CHIFFOLEAU, INRA, France, Allison LOCONTO, INRA (LISIS) / Université Paris-Est, France, Lara MAESTRIPIERI, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy and Antonello PODDA, University of Cagliari, Italy
Davide ARCIDIACONO, University "Sacro Cuore" of Milan, Italy and Yuna CHIFFOLEAU, INRA, France
Oral Presentations
From Social Movements to Alternative Food Networks: What Role for Social Innovation?
Marco ALBERIO, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Canada; Melissa MORALLI, University of Bologna, Italy
Prosumer’s Commitments in Food Co-Ops in France
Grégori AKERMANN, INRA, France; Elie DAVIRON, La Cagette, France
Patterns of Rural Innovation in Italy: A Comparison between Two Regional Networks Part of the Wwoof Association
Eleonora NOIA, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy; Samuele MOLLI, Catholic University Milan, Italy
Distributed Papers
From Civic Food Networks to Civic Food Platforms: Collaboration, Trust and Empowerment in the New Food Economy
Stefano SPILLARE, University of Bologna, Italy; Roberta PALTRINIERI, University of Bologna, Italy; Lucia MARCIANTE, University of Bologna, Department Sociology and business law, Italy; Umberto MEZZACAPO, University of Bologna, Italy