Dissertation Abstracts

Public feeding, armed conflict and rural development in Colombia: a Possibilist Approach.

Author: Nathalia Valderrama Bohórquez, nathalia.valderrama2020@hotmail.com
Department: Postgraduate Program in Rural Development
University: Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Supervisor: Sergio Schneider
Year of completion: 2019
Language of dissertation: Portuguese

Keywords: violence , agro-food networks , public food policies , Albert O. Hirschman
Areas of Research: Agriculture and Food , Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution , Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change


The food politics interact in a complex field of disputes. The agri-feeding issues are part of the disputes and violence generated by the armed conflict. In 2016, after several negotiation attempts, a peace treaty was reached. On one hand, the armed groups use the feeding as a domination mechanism. On the other hand, many rural communities and social organizations find the possibility to build responses to the violence. There are few studies about the State’s role and the public politics on the promotion of the public feeding programs in armed conflicts. This study seeks to contribute to the gap in studies with the objective of analyzing how the social dynamics converge in the interactions between public feeding, armed conflict and rural development in Colombia through a historic analysis. An analytical framework was made based on the Albert O. Hirschman's Possibilist Approach complemented with some concepts of the Strategic Action Field Theory by Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam. This study was oriented by the hypothesis, that the adoption of some legal frameworks, led the public feeding programs to the exclusion of community organizations and hampered the form of optimal disorder pattern- it is the endogenous and autonomous feeding practices- which can lead to the development. The analyze uncovered how the dominant actors use these frameworks to appropriate resources and capabilities of the field, excluding the communitarian organizations that do not fit within these frameworks. The methodology used case studies in the following municipalities: Florencia (Caquetá), Samaniego (Nariño) and Granada (Antioquia), focuses in the public feeding programs: School Feeding Program (PAE), and the modalities of attention of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF). Three main conclusions are highlighted. In the first place, the complexity of the normative frameworks of public feeding and the specialization of agri-food systems negligence the heterogeneity of the optimal disorder pattern and the confrontations between actors in relation to multiple meanings (quality, quantity, efficiency and care). In the second place, peace building is a process that involves disputes of meanings and the mobilization, containment and resistance strategies of the multiple actors involved. In this process, some actors try to co-opt the voice of society, generate frustrations and justify violent interventions through rhetoric of intransigence (futility and threat), with the aim of maintaining the instability of the field and reproducing their power. In the third place, the challenging actors seek strategies to confront the domination mechanisms, subvert the standardizing models of the globalized agri-food system and dispute resources and spaces of social recognition with other actors. In this way, the public feeding can go beyond the borders of the private (individual) sphere, and take importance again in the public (collective) sphere. Future research could compare the social dynamics in subsequent periods of other peace treaties, by analyzing the paradoxes and coalitions related with the government procurement and the supply in feeding programs that emerge from attempts to standardize the social dynamics through feeding and unveil the domination tactics present by armed conflicts.