Farmers’ empowerment and learning processes in accountability practices: An assemblage perspective
Résumé Certification and standards are key instruments to implement accountability in the contemporary governance of food systems. They are based on the idea that, thanks to the creation and circulation of information, promises to consumers are kept in increasingly complex value chains. However, critical examinations also describe it as a symptom of an ongoing globalisation and neoliberalisation, shifting power from the state to market actors, in particular retailers and supermarkets. This paper offers a new perspective on accountability within the tripartite standards regime, inspired by an assemblage approach and focusing on power relations and knowledge creation, as fundamental dimensions. The example of IP-Suisse, a Swiss farmer organisation and a food label, allows us to identify multiple contradictory power and knowledge processes that are simultaneously unfolding within the agri-environmental governance assemblage. Beyond the expected dominance of powerful actors (particularly retailers) and the relentless bureaucratisation of governance, more positive processes also emerge, including a collective empowerment of farmers and the realization of cumulative and progressive learning through new collaborations and experiments. The assemblage approach suggests that the point is not so much to invent a new blueprint for better accountability practices, but rather to understand the specific processes taking place within a given AEG assemblage and then to encourage the creation of new alliances to strengthen those processes that are most likely to foster experimentation and knowledge. It thereby obliges us to take the multiplicity of transformational processes seriously, as a starting point for developing innovative accountability practices.
Mots-clés Certification
Assemblage theory
Agri-environmental governance
Food standards
Citation Forney, J. (2021). Farmers’ empowerment and learning processes in accountability practices: An assemblage perspective. Journal of Rural Studies, 86, 673-683.
Type Article de périodique (Anglais)
Date de publication 11-6-2021
Nom du périodique Journal of Rural Studies
Volume 86
Pages 673-683
URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.05.021
Liée au projet New directions in agri-environmental governance: Re-assem...