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Another (Food) World Is Possible: Post-industrial French Paysans Fight for a Solidaire Global Food Policy

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Abstract:

If the post-war industrial model entails a mix of technological and chemical interventions that increase farm productivity, then post-industrial agriculture (emerging in the 1970s) constitutes agricultural surpluses, as well as an array of trade, aid and biotechnology practices that introduce novel foodstuffs (processed and genetically modified) on an unprecedented scale. While industrial agriculture reduces the farming population, the latter gives rise to new sets of actors who question the nature and validity of the industrial model. This essay explores the rise of one set of such actors. Paysans (peasants) from France's second largest union, the Confederation Paysanne, challenge the industrial model's instrumental rationality of agriculture. Reframing food questions in terms of food sovereignty, paysans propose a solidarity-based production rationality which gives hope to those who believe that another post-industrial food system is possible.

Keywords: BIOTECHNOLOGY; FOOD SOVEREIGNTY; GLOBAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT; NEOLIBERAL; PAYSANS; POST-INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE; SOLIDARITY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ajec.2011.200106

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures relaunched in 2008 as the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

    Previously published as the Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures

    Published since 1990, AJEC engages with current debates and innovative research agendas addressing the social and cultural transformations of contemporary European societies. The Journal serves as an important forum for ethnographic research in and on Europe, which in this context is not defined narrowly as a geopolitical entity but rather as a meaningful cultural construction in people's lives, which both legitimates political power and calls forth practices of resistance and subversion. By presenting both new field studies and theoretical reflections on the history and politics of studying culture in Europe anthropologically, AJEC encompasses different academic traditions of engaging with its subject, from social and cultural anthropology to European ethnology and empirische Kulturwissenschaften.
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