- The Oxford Handbook of Food, Politics, and Society
- List of Contributors
- How is Food Political? Market, State, and Knowledge
- Science, Politics, and the Framing of Modern Agricultural Technologies
- Genetically Improved Crops
- Agroecological Intensification of Smallholder Farming
- The Hardest Case: What Blocks Improvements in Agriculture in Africa?
- The Poor, Malnutrition, Biofortification, and Biotechnology
- Biofuels: Competition for Cropland, Water, and Energy Resources
- Alternative Paths to Food Security
- Ethics of Food Production and Consumption
- Food, Justice, and Land
- Food Security, Productivity, and Gender Inequality
- Delivering Food Subsidy: The State and the Market
- Diets, Nutrition, and Poverty: Lessons from India
- Food Price and Trade Policy Biases: Inefficient, Inequitable, Yet not Inevitable
- Intellectual Property Rights and the Politics of Food
- Is Food the Answer to Malnutrition?
- Fighting Mother Nature with Biotechnology
- Climate Change and Agriculture: Countering Doomsday Scenarios
- Wild Foods
- Livestock in the Food Debate
- The Social Vision of the Alternative Food Movement
- Food Values Beyond Nutrition
- Cultural Politics of Food Safety: Genetically Modified Food in France, Japan, and the United States
- Food Safety
- The Politics of Food Labeling and Certification
- The Politics of Grocery Shopping: Eating, Voting, and (Possibly) Transforming the Food System
- The Political Economy of Regulation of Biotechnology in Agriculture
- Co-Existence in the Fields? GM, Organic, and Conventional Food Crops
- Global Movements for Food Justice
- The Rise of the Organic Foods Movement as a Transnational Phenomenon
- The Dialectic of Pro-Poor Papaya
- Thinking the African Food Crisis: The Sahel Forty Years On
- Transformation of the Agrifood Industry in Developing Countries
- The Twenty-First Century Agricultural Land Rush
- Agricultural Futures: The Politics of Knowledge
Abstract and Keywords
A political economy of food is, somewhat ironically, especially dependent on politics of ideas. Food as commodity certainly exhibits familiar forces of contention in political economy—the relative weights of interests contesting boundaries between state and market—but generates a distinctive politics for interrelated reasons. First, the urgency of food provisioning reflects biological necessity, not mere preference. Consequently, production and distribution animate a politics of security, rights, and social justice, and thereby special potential for collective action and contentious politics. Second, food engages deeply held cultural norms and ethical standards that transcend the politics of interest characteristic of less charged commodities. Finally, a looming sense of crisis and uncertainty in sustainability of global food production has made technical discourses dependent on expertise and science more indispensable but simultaneously more contentious—and transnational in scope. Expertise looms ever larger but has not depoliticized the production, consumption, and distribution of food.
Keywords: Food ethics, agrarian political economy, social justice, agro-ecology, biotechnology, GMOs, transnational advocacy networks, moral economy, political consumerism, food sovereignty, sustainability, organic foods, alternative food movement, food labels
Ronald J. Herring is Professor of Government at Cornell University.
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