ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, July 2014

Research Committee on
Sociology of Agriculture and Food, RC40

RC40 main page

Program Coordinators

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 14.

 

For sessions program and schedule see

On-line congress program

 

Alternative Food Practices in the Global South: Organic and Sustainable Production and Local/Global Issues in Distribution and Consumption. Part I

Session Organizer
Patricia TOMIC, University of British Columbia, Canada, patricia.tomic@ubc.ca

Session in English

In the last decades there has been an explosion of interest in the study of food worldwide. However, the study of food practices in the Global South has not received enough attention, particularly in sociology.
Topics may cover (but are not limited) to the following:

 

Alternative Food Practices in the Global South: Organic and Sustainable Production and Local/Global Issues in Distribution and Consumption. Part II

Session Organizer
Patricia TOMIC, University of British Columbia, Canada, patricia.tomic@ubc.ca

 

Contemporary Research in the Agrifood System

Session Organizers
Carmen BAIN, Iowa State University, USA, cbain@iastate.edu
Marie-Christine RENARD, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Mexico, mcrenard@gmail.com

Session in English

 

Food Security: Critical Perspectives on Food Crises, World Hunger and Farming Alternatives

Session Organizers
Alia GANA, Université Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne, France, alia_gana@yahoo.fr
Shelley FELDMAN, Cornell University, USA, rf12@cornell.edu

Session in English

Recent world food crises have triggered food riots and political instability in numerous countries. The popular press and international organizations offer explanations that highlight proximate causes including the food price explosion in response to the growing and changing demand for food, extension of biofuel production, higher oil prices, climatic shifts, and speculation. Other accounts explore long-term and structural processes that shape agricultural production regimes. Often, the latter focus is on a transformation of the world food system that highlights the displacement of staple food crops with exports, an increasing monopolistic control of world food supplies by multinational corporations, world trade liberalization and unfair trade agreements with effects that leave countries of the global south vulnerable to global markets shocks yet increasingly dependent on food imports.

This proposed session seeks to explore these themes within the context of how they are deployed to reframe popular understanding as well as institutional practices and policy choices. How, for example, have farming alternatives movements and debates on food sovereignty, agrarian justice, food democracy, and the right to food reframed popular understandings of the food crisis, social responsibility, and interpretations of rights and entitlements? Alternatively, how has a rejection of the demand for food sovereignty and IAASTD’s policy options shaped policy discourses and practices or investments in agricultural production?

 

Food Security: Intersections between Indigenous Knowledge, Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Livelihoods. Part I

Session Organizers
Bill PRITCHARD, University of Sydney, Australia, bill.pritchard@sydney.edu.au
E. P. K. DAS, Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Services, India, dasepk2009@gmail.com

Session in English

Food security refers to the stage when all people at all times have access to sufficient safe nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. In many parts of rural Asia, profound challenges face the goal of improving the food security circumstances of the poor. This panel session will address two key research sub-themes associated with the contemporary problematic of food insecurity.

The first of these sub-themes relates to the incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge in the attainment of sustainable agriculture. In rural populations across the developing world, agriculture generally remains the largest employment sector. Ensuring small farmers can continue to cultivate sustainably on small plots is essential for food security. However, in rural communities, households are increasingly organizing their agricultural activities within complex webs of non-agricultural livelihood options. This brings forth the second key-sub-theme of the session, which relates to sustainable livelihoods. The Livelihoods Approach emerged in the 1990s as a strategy for rescaling analytical foci in the social sciences to the level of individuals, households and communities. During the past two decades its influence has waxed and waned in line with trends and priorities among stakeholder communities, especially, aid and development agencies.

By focusing on the changes within agriculture (with particular reference to Indigenous Knowledge and agricultural sustainability) and those from outside of agriculture (via the Sustainable livelihoods perspective) this session will highlight a holistic and people-centric view of food security which gives priority to the needs of poor households.

 

Food Security: Intersections between Indigenous Knowledge, Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Livelihoods. Part II

Session Organizers
Bill PRITCHARD, University of Sydney, Australia, bill.pritchard@sydney.edu.au
E. P. K. DAS, Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Services, India, dasepk2009@gmail.com

 

Food Security: Politics of Food Security in Asia Pacific: Neoliberal Reforms, Contamination, and Social Movements. Part I

Session Organizers
Keiko TANAKA, University of Kentucky, USA, ktanaka@email.uky.edu
Shuji HISANO, Kyoto University, Japan, hisano@econ.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Aya H. KIMURA, University of Hawaii, USA, kimuraa@hawaii.edu
Yohei KATANO, Tottori University, Japan, katano@muses.tottori-u.ac.jp

Session in English

Threats to food security in the Asia Pacific region come from multiple directions, and this panel focuses particularly on two aspects: 1) the neoliberal reforms of agricultural sector and 2) food contamination due to disasters and accidents.

First, many countries in the Asia Pacific are pushing for free trade, direct foreign investment and corporatization of agriculture and fisheries. This trend is particularly evident in the case of TPP and KORUS. Many countries in the region are heavily dependent on food imports, whereby affecting the fragile world food market. In the mainstream discourse, however, those “food security concerns” are appropriated and manipulated to justify the business-as-usual agricultural and food policy for further neoliberal reforms and large-scale overseas agricultural investment in order to make food accessible in the globalized market at the expense of food sovereignty within and beyond the region.

Second is the issue of the widespread food contamination via accidents and disasters. The case of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear accident is reflective of the broader pattern, including the lack of accountability and information disclosure from the governmental and scientific authorities, consumer panic, and decline in farm economy. The Japanese government released little information on the contamination, citing social anxiety and “harmful rumors,” and is using the discourse of reconstruction as a way to further push for reforms driven by neoliberalism in the agriculture and fishery sectors.

In either case there can be observed conflicts/collaborations among government, business, and community/citizen groups in addressing a heightened sense of food crisis and insecurity whether brought by neoliberal reforms, devastating disasters and accidents. We welcome contributions that assess the impact of market-based reforms and free trade regimes in agrifood sectors, the implications of widespread food contamination, and the prospect of social movements that are responding to these food security challenges.

 

Food Security: Politics of Food Security in Asia Pacific: Neoliberal Reforms, Contamination, and Social Movements. Part II

Session Organizer
Session Organizers
Keiko TANAKA, University of Kentucky, USA, ktanaka@email.uky.edu
Shuji HISANO, Kyoto University, Japan, hisano@econ.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Aya H. KIMURA, University of Hawaii, USA, kimuraa@hawaii.edu
Yohei KATANO, Tottori University, Japan, katano@muses.tottori-u.ac.jp

 

Global Agri-Food and Labor Relations: Exploitation, Vulnerabilities and Resistence of Agri-Food Workers

Session Organizers
Alessandro BONANNO, Sam Houston State University, USA, soc_aab@shsu.edu
Josefa Salete B. CAVALCANTI, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, saletecav@gmail.com

Session in English

Under neoliberal globalization limited scientific attention has been paid to labor relations in agri-food. Additionally, a number of theoretical formulations downplayed the importance of labor, despite the centrality of the restructuring of labor relations in the global era. The result has been that the copious literature on global agrifood has focused on a variety of relevant topics but has not produced adequate contributions on labor relations (use, conditions, exploitation, vulnerabilities, but also resistance) and the role that labor plays in current social relations.

This session wants to address this gap by soliciting papers that address salient aspects of labor relations in agri-food under neoliberal globalization. Papers that discuss aspects of labor relations in production, retailing, processing and other facets of the agrifood process as well as forms of labor resistance to dominant socio-economic arrangements are welcome. Papers that use qualitative and quantitative data as well as theoretical papers are welcome.

Salient research questions can cover – but may not be limited to – topics such as forms of labor aggregation across agri-food commodity chains; forms of labor utilization and their relationships with production and consumption processes; issues of solidarity between producers and consumers; labor and other social movements; labor, gender and locality; certification and labor.

 

Land as an Asset Class: The Future of Food and Farming. Part I

Session Organizers
Hilde BJORKHAUG, Centre for Rural Research, Norway, hilde.bjorkhaug@bygdeforskning.no
Geoffrey LAWRENCE, University of Queensland, Australia, g.lawrence@uq.edu.au
Carol RICHARDS, University of Queensland, Australia, c.richards@uq.edu.au
Phillip MCMICHAEL, Cornell University, USA, pdm1@cornell.edu
Bruce MUIRHEAD, University of Waterloo, Canada, muirhead@uwaterloo.ca

Session in English

Agricultural land is a vital yet limited resource – we depend upon it for food production, but it is also in direct competition with other activities, such as housing, infrastructure, mining, investment, carbon off-setting, biofuel production, and nature conservation. This competition has direct impacts for national and international food security.

The spectre of food insecurity is also intensified by the combination of global population growth, environmental degradation, climate change and excessive market speculation of agricultural assets. These processes and their outcomes have heightened interest, globally, in securing land as an asset or what has been referred to as “land grabbing”. The conflicts related to multiple land uses often marginalize women, indigenous peoples and peasants, as well as threatening the cultural significance of land. At the same time, this asset-based view of land also side-lines non-economic values and other less tangible public goods including aesthetics, maintenance of a sense of ‘place’, and intrinsic links between humans and nature.

This working group encourages insights into how ‘resource hierarchies’ are culturally constructed, as different interests and agendas compete for this finite resource. For instance, how do agricultural interests, environmental interests and financial interests develop and seek to impose, different and potentially conflicting approaches to the ‘meaning’ of land, and to land management? Answering this question might involve the consideration of any of the following: the role of financial institutions in altering the course of modern agriculture; the links between financialisation, globalisation, neoliberalisation and power; the dynamics of finance capital’s role in agriculture; power relations influencing land acquisition; retailer and consumer dynamics; and the impact of these relationships of power on food democracy, food security and resistance.

 

Land as an Asset Class: The Future of Food and Farming. Part II

Session Organizers
Hilde BJORKHAUG, Centre for Rural Research, Norway, hilde.bjorkhaug@bygdeforskning.no
Geoffrey LAWRENCE, University of Queensland, Australia, g.lawrence@uq.edu.au
Carol RICHARDS, University of Queensland, Australia, c.richards@uq.edu.au
Phillip MCMICHAEL, Cornell University, USA, pdm1@cornell.edu
Bruce MUIRHEAD, University of Waterloo, Canada, muirhead@uwaterloo.ca

 

RC40 Business Meeting



 

Towards a Different and More Future-Oriented Understanding of Agricultural Modernization. Part I

Session Organizers
Karlheinz KNICKEL, SD Innovation Consulting, Germany, karlheinz.knickel@gmail.com
Douglas H. CONSTANCE, Sam Houston State University, USA, soc_dhc@shsu.edu

Session in English

In this session we want to jointly explore alternative trajectories of agricultural development – addressing the increasing scarcity of natural resources, distributional questions and the deep uncertainty regarding future developments and new challenges (like climate change). The discussions are to improve our understanding of the multiple mechanisms underlying rural prosperity and resilience. Contributions will highlight potential synergies between farm `modernization` and sustainable rural development and explore a different and more future-oriented understanding of the term `modernization`.

The discussion will explicitly recognize the complexity of challenges, the diversity in situations, and the multidimensionality of strategies forward. The contributions will be diverse and have different boundaries but they are to combine an explorative perspective with an action-oriented policy and governance orientation, highlighting innovative development trajectories.

The conclusions will focus on issues that are particularly relevant for decision-makers: How do market forces, societal demands and resource constraints interact to create both opportunities and constraints for local actors? Where are the links between farm modernization, rural development, commodity systems and resilience and how can we shape them in positive ways? Factors that enable and encourage the creation of synergies will be identified. The discussion might be structured by four thematic areas: Resilience, Prosperity, Governance, Knowledge and Learning (to be re-examined on the basis of the papers submitted).

The session wants to facilitate an informed and productive interaction among researchers from a wide range of disciplines and, as much as that is possible, representatives from industry, government and civil society organisations. The aim is to overcome simplistic viewpoints of what `modernization` entails by identifying best practices supporting a sustainable agriculture in vibrant rural areas.

 

Towards a Different and More Future-Oriented Understanding of Agricultural Modernization. Part II

Session Organizers
Karlheinz KNICKEL, SD Innovation Consulting, Germany, karlheinz.knickel@gmail.com
Douglas H. CONSTANCE, Sam Houston State University, USA, soc_dhc@shsu.edu

 

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June 2014