Constructing food sovereignty in Catalonia: different narratives for transformative action
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Food sovereignty can be conceptualized as a political proposal for social change in the field of agri-food relations. However, specific strategies of how to achieve this transformative potential are diverse, and context-dependent. The paper explores this diversity by examining discourses on the food sovereignty construction process in Catalonia. Using Q methodology we have explored visions held by individuals participating in the social movement for food sovereignty, identifying five discourses: activism, anti-purism, self-management, pedagogy, and pragmatism. Key strategies of transformation include social mobilization, institutional negotiation, self-management, education to foster value change, and politics of the possible. The relevance assigned to ideological affinity explains different views on the subject of transformation, particularly regarding the involvement of the administration and the productive sector. As regards transformative strategies, discourses assign differing importance to the role of agency for effecting social transformation, which influences their assessment of individual actions as an effective means for social change. Forms of individualized and classic collective action currently coexist within the Catalan agri-food movement, but such diversity is not acknowledged as an effective alliance towards food sovereignty. Moreover, all discourses agree to a dual definition of food sovereignty, both as a process, that is, as democratization of the decision-making process in the agri-food sector, and as a result, that is, establishing an agri-food model alternative to the neo-liberal one. However, the discourses share an unclear view of democracy as decentralized collective decision-making that does not make explicit how this model should be implemented to achieve social control of the agri-food system.
KeywordsFood sovereignty Social transformation Q methodology Catalonia
Catalonia Peoples’ Food Sovereignty Alliance
La Vía Campesina
This research was conducted in collaboration with Josep-Lluís Espluga and Marta G. Rivera, whom we would also like to thank for comments on earlier drafts. This work contributes to the FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network ENTITLE Project (Number: 289374).
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