HomeFood and territorial politics. Policies for food and territories

Food and territorial politics. Policies for food and territories

Politique de l'alimentation et territoires, politique des territoires et alimentation

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Published on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

Food is, with a few exceptions, a relatively understudied object through the lens of local policymaking and urban planning. On the one hand, the sociology of food focuses on the relations that individuals and social groups develop to food deeds, as well as the social relations that food deeds generate between them. On the other hand, studies of food policies in political sociology primarily deal with the agrofood industry and the social movements around alternative modes of production. By contrast, few studies take as a research object food through the lens of agenda-setting in local public policy and its potential effects on territories.

Announcement

Argument

Food is, with a few exceptions (Douillet, Faure, 2006; Ernwein et Salomon-Cavin, 2014), a relatively understudied object through the lens of local policymaking and urban planning. On the one hand, the sociology of food focuses on the relations that individuals and social groups develop to food deeds (Régnier, Lhuissier, Gojard, 2009), as well as the social relations that food deeds generate between them. On the other hand, studies of food policies in political sociology primarily deal with the agrofood industry and the social movements around alternative modes of production. By contrast, few studies take as a research object food through the lens of agenda-setting in local public policy and its potential effects on territories. And so even as, since the end of WWII, food in industrialized countries has changed considerably, resulting in transformed relations to territories, and that more and more public initiatives stem from local authorities in Europe (Brand et al., 2017) and in the world (Dale, 2017). In fact, this relative lack of interest in the local involvement of politics in food can be understood to the extent that practices related to urban agriculture and food sovereignty have often been presented as pertaining to the sole initiative of citizen movements (Allen et al. 2003), hence putting political authorities to an opposing role. Based on this assessment, we propose 4 approaches:  

The first approach questions, in line with cognitive approaches to public policy, the role of beliefs and value systems (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith, 1993) associated to food localism in the elaboration of local public policy. To which value systems does this valorization of food localism pertain? To which alternative cognitive frames (Jobert, Muller, 1987) around food do they oppose (Bonnefoy and Brand, 2014)? Is this call to reterritorialization the same everywhere – in other words, does it refer to a similar public policy framing opposing the dominant productivist framing –, or does it take differentiated or hybrid forms across national and local contexts? Besides, does this call to localism really partake in a reconsideration of the dominant agricultural and productivist framing or does it only mean superficial transformations (Faure et al., 2010) of the established order? Beyond these classical questions, this approach also investigates the underlying naturalization of the involvement of politics in food and what it highlights: A new form of hygienics or biopower? A disqualification of the social in favor of an irenic conception of local public policy, valuing “healthy eating” and the “sense of community”? A depoliticization that is anything but one? A way to produce consent through cooperative plans?

The second approach studies food through the lens of urban and periurban planning, be it through the questions of the capacities of public planning, the social division of space, the organization of the spatial distribution of goods and services, as well as the classical question of urban gentrification. Several specific questions are relevant here: Do territorial food policies boil down to urban planning policies like others, or do they reveal particular issues? How is food a heuristic lens to analyze complex, conflicting processes of urban gentrification? How does food, as a topic that is close to individuals’ intimacy and relationship to the body, relate to space planning? How are conceptualized, by politics and planning, the relations between the human body and the urban body (Larchet, 2016)? These two latter questions, and more broadly the study of food deeds and its consideration by politics, invite to investigate the field of the urban sociology of ordinary and domestic practices (Ferrant, 2015), barely studied by the Bourdieusian tradition. For this second approach, as well as for the other approaches, studies that go beyond the sole focus of urban agriculture are welcomed.

The third approach questions the forms of the legitimacy of public involvement in the realm of food, as well as food in local political agenda-setting. What are the endogenous and exogenous sources to local political settings that help understand the global success of the call to localism? Are we witnessing an uniformization of collective action repertoires related to this promotion of local food? Generally, how to understand that the topic of food, usually perceived through the lens of European and national policies, mostly working according to corporatist logics, is that reinvested by the local while having historically been neglected at this scale?[1] How to understand, here and there, food in local political agenda-setting? What is, eventually, the leeway given to local politics in the movements of territorialization/deterritorialization of the food question? Does politics benefit from the success of the relocalization of food production as a window of opportunity to reassert its power? Lastly, how to assess the effects of local action related to food and politics at larger scales? Sociohistorical and comparative approaches that allow to trace the local involvement of politics in the food sector and counterbalance the impression of a renewal are particularly welcomed.

The fourth approach investigates the sectorization/desectorization of territorial food policies. Does the institutionalization of food as a realm for local public policy belong to a sectorization of food public policy or does it rather belong to a broader social reform spreading into different policies? Aren’t territorial food policies, essentially, sanitary and social policies, or even unrecognized population policies? If this is the case, what about the dominant traditional corporatism and its productivist framing? What is the local management of the tension between, on the one hand, the promotion of high-quality alternative food that is generally bound to advantaged social classes as well as residents sensitive to alternative discourses, and, on the other hand, problems of social integration, urban poverty, and food justice as promoted, particularly in the U.S.A., by food movement discourses (Paddeu, 2012)?

Submission guidelines

Paper proposals must be sent by e-mail to each of the panel’s conveners

before December 12th,2018.

Places

  • 11 Allée Ausone
    Pessac, France (33)

Date(s)

  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Keywords

  • alimentation, territoire, action publique locale

Contact(s)

  • Christophe Gibout
    courriel : christophe [dot] gibout [at] uni-littoral [dot] fr
  • Alexandre Fauquette
    courriel : alexandre [dot] fauquette [at] univ-lille [dot] fr

Information source

  • Alexandre Fauquette
    courriel : alexandre [dot] fauquette [at] univ-lille [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Food and territorial politics. Policies for food and territories », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, https://calenda.org/534088

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