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Agriculture biologique et verrouillage des systèmes de connaissances: Conventionalisation des filières agroalimentaire bio

STASSART, P.M. and JAMAR, D. (2009) Agriculture biologique et verrouillage des systèmes de connaissances: Conventionalisation des filières agroalimentaire bio. [Organic farming and the ‘lock-in’ of knowledge systems: Conventionalisation of the organic food sector.] Carrefours de l'Innovation Agronomique, 4, pp. 313-328.

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Online at: http://www.inra.fr/ciag/revue_innovations_agronomiques/volume_4_janvier_2009

Summary

La question de la co-existence entre deux systèmes bio, l’un porté par les acteurs historiques, l’autre par les nouveaux acteurs agroindustriels, selon un modèle de bifurcation, est traitée à travers l’hypothèse de conventionalisation. Nous utilisons le cas du système Blanc Bleu Belge et de l’élevage bovin bio belge pour montrer que le problème de la co-existence de ces deux systèmes est à la fois une question empirique et une question théorique. Notre argument est que le concept de « référentiel » (au sens de Jobert et Muller, 1987) est non seulement supérieur d’un point de vue théorique mais qu’il ouvre d’intéressantes perspectives pratiques et ceci pour deux raisons. D’abord parce qu’il permet de comprendre la question et l’enjeu de la co-existence de deux systèmes de connaissances différents, l’un alternatif et l’autre conventionnel. Ensuite parce qu’il permet de comprendre les effets d’irréversibilité qui rendent les systèmes conventionnel et biologique incompatibles l’un avec l’autre.

Summary translation

Recent debates concerning organic food systems have focused on the conventionalisation hypothesis that posits that the organic food sector has become increasingly divided between “historical” players in the organic movement, on one side, and by distributors and industrial operators recently arrived in the sector, on the other side, who practice a more conventionalised form of organic agriculture that is now gaining popularity. The most prominent explanations for the growth and dominance of a conventionalised organic food system have been economic, based on the logic of input costs, especially land rent. We use the case of the Belgian Blue commodity system and the Belgian organic beef commodity system to argue that conventionalisation is also cognitive. To understand the role of cognition in the rise of the conventional organic food sector, we use the concept of a system of cognitive references, as developed by Muller and Jobert. We believe that comparing organic and conventional practices as two cognitive reference systems allows for a deeper understanding of conventionalisation. This occurs in two ways: first, because it makes it clear that the two systems coexist on a cognitive level, understood in a broad sense as tightly-knit sets of knowledge, beliefs, standards, and images, and, second, because the concept of a reference system makes it possible to understand how the conventional system can become irreversible (lock-in effect) and thus incompatible with the development of the organic system.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:knowledge system; reference system; Belgium Blue cattle breed, conversion, conventionalisation.
Subjects: Food systems
Values, standards and certification > Consumer issues
Research affiliation: Belgium > Centre Wallon de Recherche Agronomique (CRA-W) (Gembloux)
Belgium > Université de Liège (ULG)
Related Links:http://www1.montpellier.inra.fr/dinabio/
Deposited By: PENVERN, Servane
ID Code:15497
Deposited On:30 Jul 2009
Last Modified:04 Mar 2011 09:46
Document Language:French - Francais
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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