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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 24, Issue 3 (2018)

Transformative Social Innovation for Food Sovereignty: The Disruptive Alternative                                               318-335

Authors: Paula Juárez(a), Florencia Trentini (b), and Lucas Becerra (c)

Affiliations: (a) Institute for Science and Technology Studies (IESCT), National University of Quilmes; (b) Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University
of Buenos Aires (UBA); (c) Institute of Science and Technology Studies, National University of Quilmes

Abstract            PDF

In the last decade, a new concept has emerged in Europe and the Americas to explain a ‘new’ phenomenon of societal and technological organisation oriented to the resolution of social and environmental issues: social innovation. In certain contexts, social innovators confront dominant institutions in order to achieve their political, economic, and cultural goals. This confrontation has a transformative character. In this sense, transformative social innovation may be defined as ‘changes in social relations, involving new ways of doing, organizing, framing and/or knowing, which challenge, alter, and/or replace established (dominant) institutions in a specific socio-material context.’ This framework, developed as a result of the Transformative Social Innovation Theory Project, refers to the ability to design and implement new forms of social interaction that enable people and social groups to carry out strategies and deploy narratives that lead, under certain conditions, to transformative change that engenders modifications in social and/or environmental dynamics. This article presents a conceptual framework to understand transformative social innovation, which is then used to analyse the case of the La Vía Campesina (the International Peasant Movement), focusing on: 1) the strategies employed in terms of a social innovation agent, and 2) the construction of narratives of change oriented to empower peasants and generate a collective identity of the peasantry at a global level.
Finally, the article presents closing remarks in order to conceptualise the social innovation capabilities of certain global movements (such as La Vía Campesina) and their achievements related to inclusive sustainable development, where food production and distribution, as well as territorial development, are fundamental.

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