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Changing power alignments in the food sector: the case of organic farming

Moschitz, Heidrun (2012) Changing power alignments in the food sector: the case of organic farming. In: Lapka, Miloslav and Cudlinova, Eva (Eds.) Towards an Environmental Society. Karolinum Press, Prague, chapter 3.1, pp. 154-165.

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Although existing as a concept (with a few farmers following it) since the 1920s, it was in the 1970s and 1980s that organic farming evolved as a social movement pursuing an alternative style of food production and consumption. It is, however, a particular social movement, in so far that it has not only developed as an alternative idea to mainstream agriculture, but it has put its innovative ideas into a concrete, real practice. This practice has since continuously been developed further by farmers, engaged consumers, environmental groups, and researchers. In addition, politics have taken an interest in organic farming, and support organic farming in many countries.
The implications of acting in such a real practice becomes manifest in the ‘triple logic’ of the organic movement. This triple logic consists of first, a politics of identity targeting the (values and norms of) civil society, second, a politics of influence targeting policy, and third, a politics of economics targeting the market on which organic food is traded. In this paper we critically ask what the potentials of the movement are to change power alignments in civil society, politics, and the market.
In conclusion, organic farming is a social movement with nearly 40 years of experience in trying to introduce change in society, politics and the market by real practice. We have seen that the organic movement touches upon the established institutions and the prevailing power structures with all its organizational logics: identity, influence, and economics. The movement’s actions have not shifted power alignments completely in the food sector. However, there has been enough proof to see in organic food and farming a building block in changing power alignments in the food sector.

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:social movement, organic identities, Europe, organic farming
Subjects: Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
"Organics" in general > History of organics
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics
Deposited By: Moschitz, Heidrun
ID Code:21791
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 15:07
Last Modified:22 May 2013 12:59
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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