Private standards, grower networks, and power in a food supply system

Thompson, Lyndal-Joy, and Lockie, Stewart (2013) Private standards, grower networks, and power in a food supply system. Agriculture and Human Values, 30 (3). pp. 379-388.

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Abstract

The role of private food standards in agriculture is increasingly raising questions of legitimacy, particularly in light of the impacts such standards may have on food producers. While much work has been carried out at a macro policy level for developing countries, there have been relatively few empirical case studies that focus on particular food supply chains, and even fewer studies still of the impact of private standards on developed countries such as Australia. This study seeks to address this imbalance, with a particular focus on examining the impact of private standards on an Australian vegetable supply food system in North Tasmania as well as tracing the impact of perceived and actual power relations among actors. Applying a governance framework and adopting a Foucauldian position we show that private standards are a "technology of power" that have risen out of a crisis discourse in the mid-1990s about on-farm food safety. Private standards have the effect of using knowledge from particular actors to establish truths about good agricultural practice (GAP), however we show that Tasmanian vegetable growers are not docile bodies and are employing alternative knowledge and technologies of power to challenge how GAP is implemented on-farm.

Item ID: 30826
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1572-8366
Keywords: private standards; legitimacy; grower experiences; governance; Foucault
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Project No. DP988895
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2014 01:21
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 @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960601 Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960704 Land Stewardship @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 30%
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