Responsibility and agency within alternative food networks: assembling the "citizen consumer"

Lockie, Stewart (2009) Responsibility and agency within alternative food networks: assembling the "citizen consumer". Agriculture and Human Values, 26 (3). pp. 193-201.

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Abstract

With "consumer demand" credited with driving major changes in the food industry related to food quality, safety, environmental, and social concerns, the contemporary politics of food has become characterized by a variety of attempts to redefine food consumption as an expression of citizenship that speaks of collective rights and responsibilities. Neoliberal political orthodoxy constructs such citizenship in terms of the ability of individuals to monitor and regulate their own behavior as entrepreneurs and as consumers. By contrast, many proponents of alternative food networks promote the idea that food citizenship is expressed through participation in social arrangements based on solidarity and coordinated action rather than on contractual and commoditized relationships between so-called “producers” and “consumers.” This paper thus focuses its analysis on the strategies used to mobilize people as consumers of particular products and the ways, in turn, in which people use their consumption choices as expressions of social agency or citizenship. In particular, the paper examines how the marketing, pricing, and distribution of foods interact with food standards to enable and constrain specific expressions of food citizenship. It is argued that narrow and stereotypical constructions of the "ethical consumer" help to limit the access of particular people and environmental values, such as biodiversity, to the ethical marketplace.

Item ID: 30809
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: citizenship; ecological citizenship; neoliberalism; organic food; scale
ISSN: 1572-8366
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC (DP0664599)
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2014 06:12
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960601 Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960707 Trade and Environment @ 10%
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