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Governance by campaign: the co-constitution of food issues, publics and expertise through new information and communication technologies

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This paper considers food as a site of public engagement with science and technology. Specifically, we focus on how public engagement with food is envisioned and operationalised by one non-profit organisation, foodwatch. Founded in Germany in 2002, foodwatch extensively uses new information and communication technologies to inform consumers about problematic food industry practices. In this paper, we present our analysis of 50 foodwatch e-newsletters published over a period of one year (2013). We define foodwatch’s approach as ‘governance by campaign’ – an approach marked by simultaneously constituting: (a) key food governance issues, (b) affective publics that address these topics of governance through ICT-enabled media and (c) independent food and food-related expertise. We conclude our paper with a discussion of foodwatch’s mode of ‘governance by campaign’ and the democratic limits and potentials of a governance mode that is based on invited participation.
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Keywords: Politics of food; collective action / connective action; interactions experts/public; non-profit organisation; public participation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Sociology, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland 2: Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK 3: Department of Anthropology and Sociology, SOAS, University of London, London, UK 4: Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Publication date: January 28, 2019

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