PhD research project: Nurturing networks – a social movement lens on community-supported agriculture.
Nurturing networks – a social movement lens on community–supported agriculture
PhD student: Leonie Guerrero.
Supervisors: Giuseppe Feola and Peter Driessen.
Capitalist, growth-compelled agri-food systems are a key driver of environmental and social unsustainability. Consequently, there is growing recognition that capitalist agri-food systems should be addressed in studies on transformations towards degrowth societies. Grassroots movements with alternative models of food production and consumption have emerged as agents of collective change that challenge dominant capitalist practices, values and institutions and make space for alternatives that are not compatible with the status quo. Community-supported agriculture (CSA), a model that seeks to connect producers with consumer and is based on the premise of collective sharing risks, costs and harvest of the agricultural production, is one of the most prominent examples of this larger current of agri-food grassroots movements.
Therefore, this PhD project sets out to understand the role of CSA as political actors in advancing more socially and ecologically just agri-food systems and societies through the lens of social movement theory. A social movement perspective helps to understand the identity, claims and struggles, as well as the political potential to produce change of and beyond capitalist agri-food systems, which have remained obscured in the extant research. In contrast to earlier research that has primarily investigated CSA on the initiative level, this PhD project analyses the national CSA networks in Germany and Italy. In these networks, individual CSA initiatives come together, negotiate common identities, and organise for collective action.
The PhD project has the following research objectives:
- Analyse the mechanisms of boundary work and identity building within the CSA movements in Germany and Italy
- Analyse the role of political advocacy as a strategy of the CSA movement in Germany
- Assess the potential and desirability of an alliance between the CSA and degrowth movement
- Identify research avenues that can deepen, diversify, and expand the degrowth research on agri-food systems and food movements specifically
Publications within the PhD project:
Guerrero Lara, L., van Oers, L., Smessaert, J., Spanier, J., Raj, G., Feola, G. 2023. Degrowth and Agri-Food Systems: A Research Agenda for the Critical Social Sciences. Sustainability Science (2023).
Guerrero Lara, L., Spanier, J., Feola, G. forthcoming. A one-sided love affair? An empirical study on the potential of a coalition between the Degrowth and Community Supported Agriculture movement in Germany. Agriculture and Human Values.
Guerrero Lara, L., Feola, G., Driessen, P. forthcoming. Drawing Boundaries: Negotiating a Collective ‘We’ in Community-Supported Agriculture Networks. Journal of Rural Studies.
Feola, G., Guerrero Lara, L., Smessaert, J. Spanier, J. 2020. Book Review: The Case for Degrowth. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 37: 381-382.