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International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Published by Michigan State University

Official publication of the Research Committee on Sociology of Agriculture and Food (RC-40)
of the International Sociological Association (ISA)

Editors: Raymond Jussaume, Claire Marris and Katerina Psarikidou

Frequency: 3 issues per year 
ISSN: 0798-1759

Volume 25, Issue 2 (2019)

Defining agroecology: Exploring the circulation of knowledge in FAO’s Global Dialogue                                         116-137

Authors: Allison Loconto[a,b] and Eve Foullieux[a,c]

Affiliations: [a] Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés (LISIS), UMR ESIEE Paris – INRA – UPEM No1236 / FRE CNRS No3705, Champs-sur-Marne, France; [b] Science, Technology and Society Program, John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA; [c] MOISA, CIRAD, Montpellier, France

Abstract            PDF


Abstract. This article traces how ‘agroecology’ is co-produced as a global socio-technical object. The site of co-production, the Global Dialogue on Agroecology, was convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in different cities around the world between 2014 and 2018 (Rome 2014; Brasilia, Dakar, Bangkok 2015; La Paz, Kunming, Budapest 2016; Rome 2018). We analyze these ‘expert’ symposia and regional meetings by exploring how knowledge about agroecology circulates and frames the terms of debate. Our analysis is based on an ethnography carried out by the first author since 2013 and participant observations by both authors in the Global Dialogue. We focus on three key processes that contribute to the stabilization of a global agroecology: 1) the work carried out to define ‘agroecology’, 2) actors’ interests and strategies that are revealed through the politics of circulation, and 3) the emergence of the ‘evidence based’ logic within this dialogue and the ‘experts’ who are legitimized. We argue that the version of ‘agroecology’ that was stabilized through the Global Dialogue is one that has been highly influenced by civil society actors, even though they were not recognized as ‘experts’ in the process. We conclude with reflections upon the politics of ‘agroecological’ knowledge and what this means for the institutionalization of agroecology.

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