From disruptive to emancipatory politics: transforming food governance

Session convenors:
Ana Moragues Faus, Cardiff University (MoraguesFausA1@cardiff.ac.uk)
Terry Marsden, Cardiff University (MarsdenTK@cardiff.ac.uk)

Current political events – from raise of nationalistic and populist movements to the growth of support for post-colonial, feminist and anti-austerity perspectives – present a rupture with managerial and the so-called post-democratic politics [1–3]. The food system embodies this highly politicised arena which, to date, still results in increasing levels of food poverty and health inequality, environmental degradation and increasing concentration of power [4–6]. For example in Europe, policy synergies between a private-interest governance regime and a corporatist EU state-based regulatory regime coexist with an ever-growing number of alternative food networks and food justice movements [7–9]. These fragmented governance landscapes require deeper examination to understand how current disruptive events – in the form of multiple crises, Brexit, social mobilisations or creative destruction events – can be harnessed into more emancipatory politics.

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Is food sovereignty a feminist practice? Interrogating the gender dimensions of food sovereignty

Convenors
Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Annette.desmarais@umanitoba.ca)
Rita Calvário, Center of Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal. (ritamcalvario@gmail.com)

Gender equality/equity is a critical element of the theory, discourse and practice of food sovereignty. Indeed, in this approach “women’s rights are non-negotiable” (Patel 2009). Yet, there is a considerable research gap on the gendered dimensions of food sovereignty (Agarwal 2014; Masson et al. 2017). This session will interrogate the role of food sovereignty in transforming social relations by analyzing if and how food sovereignty — as an on-going process of food system transformation (Schiavoni 2017) and feminist practice (Masson et al. 2017) — helps creates a “deep egalitarianism” (Menser 2008) that confronts unequal power relations, structures and processes, based on sex, race, patriarchy and class.

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Sponsored sessions at RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2019

The call for papers on Food Geographies Working Group sponsored sessions is now open. Here is an overview of all the session we are supporting at this year's conference. You will find more details on each call for papers by clicking on the title of the session. Any inquiries should be directed to responsible session conveners.  
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Cultivating hope while getting into trouble with Community Food Initiatives

Session Convenors: 
Esther Veen (esther.veen@wur.nl)
Oona Morrow (oona.morrow@wur.nl),
Stefan Wahlen (stefan.wahlen@wur.nl)
Anke de Vrieze (anke.devrieze@wur.nl)

Community food initiatives (CFIs), such as community gardens or food waste initiatives, are often framed as hopeful solutions to our troubled food system. Yet the actual interrelations of hope and trouble are rarely interrogated in locally specific contexts. Hope and trouble are often employed in partial and limiting ways. CFIs are critiqued for being too hopeful, reproducing existing troubles (e.g. racism, power, privilege, and exclusion). Other readings strategically avoid the dominance of trouble, to leave space for hope and possibility. Neither approach is sufficient. Moreover, binary effects of hope and trouble can create methodological tensions that affect our own abilities to engage in action research that is both critical and reparative, hopeful and troubling.

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Troubling Platforms: Disruption, mediation and transformation in digital food geographies

Session Convenors:
Jeremy BRICE, London School of Economics, j.brice@lse.ac.uk
Tanja SCHNEIDER, University of St Gallen, tanja.schneider@unisg.ch
Sebastian PROST, Newcastle University, s.prost2@newcastle.ac.uk

Food is increasingly caught up in complex economies and ecologies of digital platforms, from online takeaway delivery services and surplus food redistribution apps to diet trackers, social media networks and traceability tools. Elaborate assemblages of software, interfaces and devices mediate the circulation of both foodstuffs themselves and the knowledges, affects and values which accompany them – creating and coordinating novel socio-technical networks of interaction and exchange which are rapidly (if unevenly) reconfiguring spatialities and temporalities of food provisioning, politics and consumption.

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Food geographies ‘in’, ‘of’ and ‘for’ the Anthropocene

Convenors:
Prof Damian Maye (University of Gloucestershire) dmaye@glos.ac.uk;
Dr Ben Coles (University of Leicester) bfc2@leicester.ac.uk;
Prof David Evans (University of Bristol) d.m.evans@bristol.ac.uk

The “Anthropocene” is an important and much-debated concept in physical and environmental geography that has also attracted considerable attention in human geography in recent years (Castree, 2017). At its core, it reflects not just how humans impact on the non-human world but also how human activities fold into earth-surface systems (ibid). Given this burgeoning disciplinary interest in the Anthropocene, there is a surprising lack of critical engagement with the concept in food and rural geography, despite some exceptions (e.g. Beacham, 2018; Sexton, 2018). This is surprising for a number of reasons, not least given the ways in which food and farming are currently implicated in changes to the earth’s biophysical and chemical processes – changes that will likely have significant impacts on not just the availability of food, but on how the relationships between agriculture, food practices and food can be understood. Conceptual risks of conflating the Anthropocene with climate change notwithstanding, agri-food production and consumption is a significant contributor to climate change.

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