ECPR General Conference
Universität Hamburg, Hamburg
22 - 25 August 2018




Contested Boundaries in Food and Agricultural Governance

Climate Change
 
Environmental Policy
 
Globalisation
 
Governance
 
Green Politics
 
Public Administration
 
Public Policy
 
WTO
 
Section Number
S18
Section Chair
Gerard Breeman
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Section Co-Chair
Jessica Duncan
Wageningen University and Research Center

Abstract
Food governance under conditions of globalization and limited resources from the global to the local level is becoming a menacing policy challenge. Related implications affect established policy paradigms within agriculture and food policy, but also policy areas that have long been separated from food and agriculture policy. Organizations that originally dealt with food security policies are reframing their focus to expand to interconnected, separately governed issues, such as climate change. Similarly, civil society organizations and multinational corporations in the food sector are increasingly co-producing public services. These developments challenge established analytical concepts in political science, e.g., the distinction between public and private becomes increasingly opaque through public-private partnerships with ensuing challenges to decision making procedures and the categorization of stakeholders, and to traditional concepts such as accountability, transparency, and representation. Similarly, the boundaries of international regimes are becoming blurred, with, for example, the Sustainable Development Goals merging norms from climate, environmental, food and human rights regimes, setting the scene for future contestation of competences and resources.

This Section welcomes Panels and Papers that critically analyze the re-negotiation of the boundaries in agri-food governance. We are interested in the analysis of these trends. This includes an interest in theoretical reflection on suitable concepts, proposals for new analytical or conceptual frameworks, in-depth and comparative case-studies that explore these shifts and related implications, and proposals for innovative solutions to address negative implications.

We propose Panels that welcome Papers addressing some of the following topics:

• The changing roles of actors and agency in agri-food governance systems.
New actors and agencies are entering agri-food governance systems in response to globalization, changes in international relations, and the limitations of the available resources. The changing international trade patterns and the international treaties, such as the Paris treaty but also Brexit, will change the type of actors and agencies that are involved in the agri-food systems and the way they work together. Some actors will be included who were not involved before and others will lose their seats at the decision making tables. Against this backdrop, this Panel seeks to understand how actors are categorized, how they redefine their roles within the changing food system and who is controlling the categorization. It will also welcome Papers that analyse the implications of these changing patterns of actor networks.

• New trends in developing integrated policies.
An increasing number of governments realizes that agricultural policy is not a stand-alone policy domain. It touches upon, among others, health, environmental, and nature policy problems. Contaminated eggs with pesticides is as much a health issue as it is an agricultural problem and the question is, which minister is responsible and which policy arena should take action? Besides, at which level should these type of problems be coordinated: at a central level or elsewhere? Hence, many governments are developing integrated food policies, sometimes resulting in new ministries or intergovernmental coordination mechanisms. This Panel investigates the multi-level dynamics of integrated food policies.

• Where next for Integrated Food Policy?
This Panel proposes to ‘zoom out’ from the policy-making process, and adjust the focus towards previously under-explored themes and their potential role as enablers of policy integration. Examples of less-obvious enablers to foster connectedness might include: interdisciplinary research; integrated evidence; pedagogical developments; the role of values; or addressing the disconnects between non-governmental actors - such as business and civil society - in the policy process. The Panel therefore calls for Papers which offer conceptual and empirical insights into both new lenses for study and more pragmatic solutions to support integrated food policy, both within and beyond the direct realm of policy-making, which might improve its chances of success.

• Trends in organizational cross-overs of food, energy, health and agriculture.
Food, health, energy, and agricultural policies are heavily regulated policy domains that involve different levels of government, from the global WTO trade regulations and the EU directives, to the environmental inspection agencies operating at the local level. Regulating food, for instance, involves organizations that belong to different policy arenas such as food safety authorities and environmental inspection agencies. This Panel focuses on related organizational and regulatory challenges. Which organizations are involved, how do they cooperate and how could cooperation be improved?

• Normative divides in agri-food governance.
Agri-food governance has long been based on apparent consensus around basic norms. However, under the influence of globalization and the prospect of scarce resources at global level, new normative divides appear along multiple lines, in particular between different levels of governance, between multiple international regimes or between political parties. The contributions to this Panel will analyze how multiple interdependent relations within and among societies produce new normative divides and lead to contestation over norms and ideas at different regulatory levels. The Panel invites Papers that address in particular the following questions: How do new ideas, norms and discourses challenge and affect agri-food governance systems? Do conflicts over norms strengthen or weaken the capacities of agri-food governance systems? How does norm contestation affect the locus of political authority to formulate, disseminate, and represent future visions of effective, equitable and fair agri-food governance systems? And what are appropriate democratic measures to settle conflicts over norms and ideas?

• Sustainable food governance as a wicked problem.
From a consumers’ perspective food security is not very complicated. Food is a physical need and we will fight over it when we are hungry or migrate to greener pastures. At the same time, however, the governance of sustainable food is one of the most complex, if not, wicked governance tasks of governments and societies at large. Establishing and maintaining food security in a sustainable way is a multidimensional challenge where tasks and responsibilities are widely dispersed between both private and public actors and where activities are highly interdependent from each other. In this way, the governance of food is a complex multi-disciplinary, multi-value, multi-multi-level, and multi-actor activity. This Panel explores new theories to analyse and govern with these interdependent problems and solutions.

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