19 June 2017

Stakeholder Analysis: Who and What Really Counts?

The word 'stakeholder' not only has a prominent place in public and nonprofit management theory and practice (Bryson, 2004) but also in the natural resources and environmental management. Analysis of stakeholder is crucial due to the increasingly interconnected of the global world (shared power world) which mean taking stakeholder account into the natural resources problem is a part of solutions (problem-solving). Consequently, the decision about the definition of stakeholders is also important because it will affect who and what counts in the activities (Mitchell et al. 1997). For this reasons, stakeholder analysis method has gained increasing position and attention on this field, particularly on the participatory methods (Prell et.al, 2009).

18 April 2017

The Relationship Between Risk Perception and Social Interaction

Risk perception is one of the significant factors influencing individual action to response and reduces the risk, (Smith, et. al. 2013). Although, most of the theoretical perspectives on risk emphasis on the individual unit of analysis, some recent research has calculated community experience to risk or disaster. For instance, research from Masuda & Garvin (2006) suggests that risk perceptions were connected within the minds of individuals and revealed as people’s sense of belonging in their community. According to cultural theory and perspectives, risk perception can be translated as a reflection of the social context of an individual (Sjoberg, 2000). Risk perception is a social construction that affected by several factors in which risk was culturally embedded, such as experience, the structure of economics and politics, environment, personal exposures to hazard, and community process (Fitchen et. al, 1987, Flint & Luloff, 2005).

11 April 2017

Reading Summaries (9): Anti-Genetic Engineering Movement in the U.S. and Britain

During the second half of the 1990s, European activists opposed to the use of genetic engineering (GE) in the food supply. Unlike European activists were gained significant achievement in the anti-GE movement, U.S. activists were gained little traction. Why was the European/Britain anti-biotech movement so effective, while the U.S. campaign was not? For this reason, the author addresses the comparative analysis of anti-biotechnology activism in the United States and Britain. Their analysis draws on both primary and secondary data sources: in-depth interviews, extensive media coverage, trade journals, public opinion survey data, newspaper and magazine articles, scholarly articles on the British supermarket sector, and detailed field notes from an in-depth study of six British supermarkets in the mid-1990s (p. 168-169). Using the Global Community Chains (GCC) literature, they show how the GCC for food was a critical factor that enabled anti-GE activists and exploring the different outcomes of these two very similar social movements.

01 April 2017

Reading Summaries (8): Local Embeddedness of Farmers Market

The first article is coming from Feagan & Morris (2009) entitled “Consumer quest for embeddedness: a case study of the Brantford Farmers’ Market.” This research examines consumer motivations for shopping at the Brantford Farmers’ Market in south-central Ontario, Canada. The authors use the concept of embeddedness (social, spatial and natural spheres) to understand and organize the sets of values tied to consumer motivations at FMs. Social embeddedness is a value associated with ‘economies of regard,' trust, social interaction, and responsibility. Natural embeddedness contains consumer desires for food associated with more ecologically values like organic production and sustainable farming methods. Spatial embeddedness includes a group of motivations associated with the desire to buy food produced locally and more directly linked.

The survey collected basic demographic data through the use of close-ended, Likert-scale, open-ended questions, and audiotaped responses. 149 participants were surveyed, with about 50 declining. Basic descriptive statistics and regression analysis were implemented in data analysis. The Brantford FM respondents represent an older demographic profile than the overall population of this region which dominant in the 50–59 age category with about 70% being age 50 or more, and with the majority of women (63%).

The result showed that more than 70% of respondents strongly believed that FM products were fresher and healthier (28%) than food available elsewhere. The research shows that only 20% of respondents held price as significant factors! 83% of respondents agreed strongly about supporting local farmers. Similarly, 85% of these FM patrons agreed strongly with buying local.

FM patron motivations found expression in all three of the embeddedness spheres. The spatial embeddedness factors of buying fresh, healthy produce, supporting local farms, buying local, and broader community support, were all elements in the mix of values sought by the FM patrons. The social embeddedness quality is also in a sense. Recommendation from the authors is comparing shoppers at both FMs and at conventional supermarket food venues to gather some differences related to the context and expediency in the further work.

Embeddedness, the new food economy, and defensive localism 

Differs to Feagan & Morris, Winter’s (2003) article explores the relationship between quality and local embeddedness of food purchases in five rural localities of England and Wales. He argues that the interest through the operation of alternative food systems may be characterized by a focus on consumer concerns over human health and food safety, the environmental consequences of globalized and industrialized agriculture, farm animal welfare, and fair trade. For this reason, the research question of this article is about “how alternative food networks should be conceptualized within rural studies in the notion of embeddedness as developed in economic sociology and geography?” This paper also has three primary purposes: (i) examine the concept of embeddedness and its value to the food economy (ii) explores the idea of quality as a key component in the embeddedness discourse. And (iii) drawing on empirical research on food purchasing. The results came as a surprise with purchases local food being significantly more widespread than organic food (Tables 1–3, p.28). 

Furthermore, meaning and signification within food purchases become necessary. On the other word, the essential function of consumption is its capacity to “make sense.’’ This ‘making sense’ takes place in social relationships. Consequently, the emergence of alternative food networks not simply as an antithesis to the global market. It is open to question whether we can equate either the turn to quality or the turn to localism as the first steps towards an alternative food economy which will challenge the dominant of global agri-food systems. There is an opportunity for more research to uncover the motivations of local purchasers and the consequences of their actions. Research collaboration and integration in economic and the sociological perspectives are needed to understand the complex meanings and significations of alternative food systems in praxis.

Reading this paper together with the Feagan & Morris’ articles will give us more understanding of the relationship and the complexity of embeddedness and localism related to the consumer’s motivation on food purchasing. These two articles also remind us that the market processes – or other socioeconomic processes - is not in a single aspect but always as complex combinations of multiple dimensions of social life.

20 March 2017

Reading Summaries (7): Locating Potential Resistance in the Weaknesses of the Global Food System

This article describes how power is negotiated in the food and agriculture arena. The other important question is what kinds of alternatives are possible in the agri-food system which dominated by global corporations? Using commodity systems analysis and theories of the firm, the authors provide a picture of the structure of the world food system through the rise of food chain clusters and food retailing. The connection between structures, space, time and resistance are used to understand the colonization of our world by the logic of the same system (global capitalism). The compression of space and the speed-up of time are essential components of accumulation in the modern era. It governs economic and political transactions to the centralization of control that we see in the agri-food system. These centralized networks described in the food chain clusters; Figure 1: The Cargill/Monsanto food chain cluster, Figure 2: The Con Agra food chain cluster, Figure 3: The Novartis/Archer Daniels Midland food chain cluster. All of the clusters are represents the situation in 1999.

In the global food system, power play by spanning distance and decreasing the time between production and consumption (the political economy of agriculture). The food and agriculture firms always follow several strategies to reduce uncertainty, such as horizontal integration (by expanding their business in the same stage of the commodity system), vertical integration (by expanding upstream or downstream in the agriculture and food commodity chains), and global integration (by expanding business globally). According to the author, each business strategies to concentrate on the ownership and control of the food system are highly dependent on the formation and sustaining of relationships and networks

The authors identified three major strengths of the global food system: first is the mass production of food for mass consumption, second is access to capital, and third is an elegant vision that focuses on the bottom line which is ideologically legitimated by neoclassical economics, and morally legitimated in capitalist culture. In contrary, there is some weakness of global food system that they may difficult to produce and distribute foods in smaller or more differentiated markets, difficult to develop a trusting relationship with consumers, highly depend on the brand which highly cost in advertising, and to solve the social and environmental problems they create. These vulnerabilities are the opportunity for farmers, workers, consumers, and communities to promotes their alternatives.

Case study of The Kansas City Food Circle

The Kansas City Food Circle organization, which began in November 1994, is the example of a political alternative that emerged as a potential resistance. This local Food Circle is embedded in a particular locale relationships which mean that eaters respect to the process of the food that they eat. Consumers can get seasonal and fresh food at a price that supports farmers using sustainable practices. The local Food Circle also educates the consumer about the seasonality of foods. There is a different conception of space between local vs. the dominant global agri-food system. The most important aspect of these movements is the ability of the community to protect their lifeworld from the dominant logic of the systems world (reorder time and space). 

Source of the article: 

Opening Spaces through Relocalization: Locating Potential Resistance in the Weaknesses of the Global Food System

Mary K. Hendrickson and William D. Heffernan

11 March 2017

Reading Summaries (6): Farm size and job quality in California & Wisconsin

This paper is describing the relationship between farm size and job quality for hired farm workers. The idea of research starting from the “gap” among scholar’s research focus where the full-time agricultural labor force in nonindustrial farming settings has been almost entirely ignored by sociologists of agriculture (Buttel, 1983). Most research in this field often addresses hired labor issues in polarized terms (family farms vs. factory farms) or only criticizing the labor relations on large-scale farms. In fact, there are many factors that shape job quality for hired workers, for example; labor policies, labor market conditions, racist anti-immigrant sentiment, and the exploitative dynamics of capitalism. For this reasons, the author’s focus is mainly on the role of farm size in shaping job quality.
Data conducted from two independently case studies which offer a different setting (organic fruit and vegetable production in California and dairy farming in Wisconsin). California is producing half of the nation’s high-value fresh fruits and vegetables. Most jobs on California organic farms are seasonal, temporary positions, and farmworkers face ergonomic and mechanical hazards. Of the total agricultural workforce, 95 % are foreign-born, primarily from Mexico, and anywhere from 50 to 90 % lack legal authorization. In contrast, Wisconsin’s farming sector mostly of small-scale dairy farms, year-round, full-time positions, which can be a boon for workers. However, most of those jobs are far from ideal (the 10 Dirty Jobs that Nobody Wants) due to the low wages, late shifts, extreme temperatures, and repeated exposure to manure. Wisconsin dairy farmers hire immigrants from Mexico and Central America, who now constitute 40 % of the state’s dairy farm workforce

Putting the [local] Community First!

Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) promised that the model would facilitate linkages between natural resources conservation and community well-being. However, there has frequently fallen short of expectations and many criticisms stressing on the “failure” implementation of CBNRM (Leach, et, al. 1999., Stone & Nyaupane, 2014). Some critics argue that CBNRM privileges the former over the latter and it represents the extension of neoliberalism into the exploitation of nature. In the beginning, CBNRM idea is based on the principal that if conservation and development can be achieved simultaneously and the interests of both could be served. A CBNRM project also designed to facilitating one or two communities to organize themselves so that they get benefits from the utilization of local natural resources as well as actively involved in the conservation activities (inclusion of the community in conservation agenda).

04 March 2017

Reading Summaries (5): Corporate cooptation of organic and fair trade standards

Article by Jaffee & Howard (2010) examining the dynamics of the organics and fair trade, focusing on a ‘‘corporate countermovement’’ in increasing corporatization and renegotiating the standards of new market sectors (organics) by the comparative analysis. The question of this observation is how does capital respond to social movements and rewrite the rules of the game in an increasingly globalized agri-food system?
In the U.S, organic food system has a transformation to an industry worth more than $19 billion a year. In the mid1990s, corporate participation in organics sector increased dramatically approached 1% of total U.S. food sales. In fact, 14 of the 20 largest food processors in North America have acquired organic brands or versions. By the late 1990s, more than 40 certifiers were operating at the state or regional level. Moreover, throughout the process of centralizing state authority over the meaning of organic, sales of certified organic foods in the U.S. increased with an average 20% annual growth almost every year since 1990. 

21 February 2017

Reading Summaries (4): Race, Culture, and Practice

Objectives of Henson & Munsey’s (2014) article is to correlate changes in residential segregation dynamics over a 50-year period with the social processes of isolation (black isolation from white and white isolation from black) in Birmingham, Alabama. On the other word, this study illustrated the spatial distribution of cultural attitudes and the relationality of space and the effect of segregation on that relationality. According to Cultural Capital approach from Bourdieu, Space is made up of the material flow of money and people/bodies. The processes and flows produce and reproduce racialized spaces (racial isolation and economic accumulation) in the real world. 

Cultural Capital, particularly in racial capitals or spatialized social structure in Birmingham, are developed by the three primary positions of the structure; the first is wealthy White, the second is middle-class and low-income Whites and the third position is Black. Internalization of this social position (that shapes the behavior of particular social agents) is known as Habitus concept. It operates in fields in which agents of differing social position use their capital to struggling over a particular resource (p. 999). Using urban geography methods (Geographic Information System/GIS analysis of segregation, participant observation in the alternative food meetings, and In-depth interview with leaders or important actors in the food movement, civic, and business leader) the study shows that the dominant habitus in Birmingham’s local food and agriculture movement is racialized White, which they dominate the philanthropic and non-profit sector in Birmingham.
It was interesting to analyze the dialectical relationship between habitus and space in the context of social and spatial segregation. Different to Green et. al article before which focuses on the resiliency of black farmer’s livelihood system in southern America (power relation approach), Henson & Munsey’s are more concentrate on the relationship between space, culture, and practice in the urban movement/community context. This article is excellence because they can deliver a detailed visualization about social segregation in the urban areas during a long period/processes. Reading this paper is a great exercise to understand “community structure” in the different lenses (post-modern theory and urban geography).

original article:

picture: here

17 February 2017

Reading Summaries (3): Technoscience in Agriculture

http://geography.name/actor-network-theory/The country-based case studies of commodity systems are the interesting approach to the contemporary research of global agrifood system. From Tanaka’s et. al (2010) and MSU-SAGT contributions, We also learn that the power of nation-state in the liberal market is not only arisen from the economic, politics, and capital force but also from knowledge and technology (knowledge-based economy). Just as the power of knowledge diffusion requires a better understanding of the knowledge-based networks (OECD, 1996) so that ANT and CSA approach are very helpful to trace linkages from one dimension to another.

Tanaka & Juska’s (2010) article illustrated the early phase of the Michigan State University School of Agrifood, Governance, and Technoscience (MSU-SAGT) featured research in the 1990s. This paper is similar to Bonano’s article (2009) about the history of the Missouri School but had had different emphasis and approach to the MSU-SAGT field research. MSU-SAGT is one of the best practices for research combination and implementation of Commodity System Analysis (CSA), which delineated by Friedland (1984), and Actor Network Theory (ATN), which described by Latour (1987), in the case study of rapeseed market globalization (Canada, Japan, US, Europian, China, and India). This paper not only discusses and systematically examine the significant change of the rapeseed commodity system but also provided a critical understanding of governance as the process and mechanism of the network and power distribution among actors. 

By the “simple” methodology that so-called “follow the actor,” their research following a given actor (a commodity in CSA and technoscience product in ANT) and analyze the transformation process, including human and nonhuman interaction. The purposes of this approach are to open the rules of the game and the invisible hand within actors network by investigating and examining their power relation. MSU-SAGT also emphasized the critical role of technoscience politics (interdependence of technologies and scientific knowledge) by comparing the networks, actors, and symmetry that change over time and differ across space.  Meanwhile ANT, as a research tool, focuses on the processes and practices of scientist, technicians, and engineers that constituted the capacity of technoscience in the agrifood system, CSA focus to follow a given commodity from production to consumption and investigate how economic and political activities have become increasingly globalized.
Original Article: 

Reflections on the Contributions of the MSU School of Sociology of Food and Agriculture


14 February 2017

Brief Reflection on Stability and Change in the Sustainable Community Development

Social relations among community fields is never static. Change is happening everywhere, sometimes intentional but often unplanned. The rates of change also vary from community to community. There are also various causes of changes in the community; environmental factors, culture, social movement, conflict, technology, diffusion of information, need for adaptation, and so on. Theoretically, community system has a dual structure. One side is designed for evaluation and change. The other hand is designed for stability, for regular performance, and for predictability (Cook, 1994). When these two sides interact, tension is usually experienced between them.
Stability can be defined at the ecosystem level and the species level. Variation among species in their response to such fluctuation is an essential requirement for ecosystem stability. Evidence from multiple ecosystems suggests that biological diversity acts to stabilize ecosystem functioning in the face of environmental change (Cleland, 2011). Similar to this ecosystem theory, recent social research also has found that diversity and integrity of social, ecological and economic aspects of the system are essential for sustainable community development (Dale & Sparkes, 2010).

09 February 2017

Reading Summaries (2): The Neoliberal Food Regime

The most significant factor in the globalization of agriculture and food is national and international regulation for trade liberalization. We need a theorization of state-facilitated reorganization into Neoregulation because Neoliberal globalism are depends centrally on the state to play a central role in neoliberal ideology. Furthermore, Pechlaner & Otero also hypothesize that the globalization of agriculture and food will be tempered not only by the differential interests and abilities of the individual nation-state but also by the resistance to Neoregulation that arise within them (p. 182). The authors offer an empirical analysis of Neoregulation using the food-regime perspective in the three countries of NAFTA: the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

According to McMichael (2004), the basis of the neoliberal food regime is centered on the political elimination of barriers to capital in social and natural relations (p. 183). This concept is coherence with the goals of NAFTA and WTO to the trade liberalization and promoting free trade internationally. However, in the conclusion of this article, the transnational mobilization also depends on the sociopolitical dynamics at the local and national level that could limit the activity of WTO. From another point of view, this article has different emphasis, not only focus on the global food politics but also acknowledge the tension in the formation of the third contemporary food regime;
  • food security vs. food sovereignty,
  • WTO vs. Via Campesina,
  • the centrality of knowledge intensive technology (genetic engineering/GE) vs. protections to the small-holder agricultures,
  • high-value agricultural goods in developing countries vs. food vulnerability and its resistance at the level of the nation-state, and
  • uniform rules for all vs. protectionism.

In the context of colonization and the relation of power (Foucaldian perspectives), it is clear that liberal capitalism/neoliberal ideology are zero-sum-games. The United States and Canada were the winners in NAFTA and Mexico as the developing/poor countries are the losers. This system empirically reformulated the colonial formations. On the other word, Neoliberalism is another name of Neocolonialism itself.

Gerardo Otero on the Journal of Poverty (2011) also wrote about “Mexico Lost of Food and Labor Sovereignty.” He underlined the most important point in his article that Mexico’s asymmetrical integration into the NAFTA had a detrimental impact on its food self-sufficiency, its labor sovereignty, and substantially increased its out-migration rates. How can we explain the future economic and political relationship between Mexico and the US under current presidency, particularly on “building wall” policy to reduce the “illegal” migration/worker? Where is the position of Canada at this political tension?

source of picture: click here

Reading Summaries (1): Agricultural Development and Black Farmers in the American South

“From the past to the present” paper’s exploring the history and social change processes of black farmers’ livelihood system in the south of America, especially those in the Mississippi Delta region. Green at.al was analyzing through the structural/power relation approach to describe the inequality and limited access in pursuing more sustainable livelihoods. Just as the means of production and labor control are important factors, so the resiliency of black farmer’s livelihood system in southern America is influenced by the structural condition in which they embedded. In the context of power relations, black farmers have traditionally been at a disadvantage and defined as being less worthy than white farmers by their class, gender, race, ethnicity, and ownership. By the slavery, tenancy, sharecropping, and the crop-lien system, the elite white continued control over labor in the past. This fact reminds us that the land ownership is the most valuable resource for the sustainable livelihood.

However, we must also consider to the complexities faced by the specific structure of agriculture, family farming, and farmers’ group. For instance, black producers faced more challenges to their livelihoods system during the capital-intensive system in agriculture (1920-1970). A variety of discrimination preventing them to participating in and access to government agricultural program. On the other hand, the state has not provided an adequate protection and assistance for black producers. This structural forms of discrimination illustrate the challenges they have faced over the generation. To survive and achieve greater livelihood security and sustainability, then they have had to mobilize and organizing efforts from the grassroots (self-help associations, cooperatives, and alliance with civil rights initiatives). In short, exploring the history of black farmers in Mississippi allow us to more clearly articulate structural constraints on livelihood system and create an alternative strategy - community-based cooperatives, poor people’s cooperatives, Rural Coalition and so on - to overcome these challenges.

In my opinion (please correct me if I am wrong), Green et.al. analysis on the black producers in Mississippi and the “commodity systems analysis” by William H. Friedland, illustrated the early phase of the Missouri School featured research. In this period  (the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s) the Missouri School applying and emphasis on the structure of agriculture, migrant agricultural labor, and quality of life in rural communities. After this period, Heffernan and his group shifted their focus to the capital concentration in agri-food commodities (Bonanno, 2009). At this point, I understand why Bonanno said that the Missouri School had brought a tradition and ideas rooted in the heartland of the United States to the global forum.

source of picture: click here
- yanu prasetyo -