Food Justice, Food Sovereignty and the Challenge of Neoliberalism

01 January 2013
Paper

Alternative food systems have been criticized as neoliberal because they locate social change potential in consumer market behavior, assume functions that were formerly provided by the state, and produce subjectivities consistent with market logics. Food sovereignty, on the other hand, directly challenges neoliberalism by pairing local and regional ecological agriculture with direct challenges to the corporate food regime.

This paper will discuss three increasingly common strategies among US food justice movements that also challenge neoliberalism. These include the creation of worker-owned food businesses, campaigns to improve workers’ wages and conditions and policy campaigns to restrict harmful agribusiness practices. It will then consider how these efforts can contribute to the struggle for food sovereignty.

Assistant Professor and Chair, Sociology Department, University of the Pacific, Stockton California. Professor Alkon’s research examines the ways that local and organic food systems shape and are are shaped by racial and economic identities and inequalities. She is co-editor of Cultivating Food Justice: Race Class and Sustainability and author of Black White and Green: Farmers Markets, Race and the Green Economy, as well as over a dozen articles and chapters on this topic.

Food Sovereignty: a critical dialogue, 14 - 15 September, New Haven.