Working group at 24th ESRS congress in Chania, Greece 22-25 August 2011: Call for papers

Imre Kovách ( Institute for Political Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest), Petra Derkzen and I are organising a working group on “the governance of semi-subsistent food and farming strategies in the countryside and city- a compartive perspective” at the 24th ESRS congress in Chania (Greece) from 22-25 of August 2011. We would like to invite all interested researchers to submit their papers dealing with empirical or theoretical reflections on the driving forces, structure and mechanisms of semisubsistence food and farming strategies in the countryside and-or cities, both within developed and developing countries. Abstracts may be submitted  to Imre Kovach ( AND until the 30th of April 2011.  For a more detailed description of the workshop please read further…

Courtesy of European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism

Despite the policy‐driven agricultural modernization, semi‐subsistence food and farming strategies are still vibrantly present in rural but also increasingly in urban areas. This presence of ongoing and newly born alternative livelihood strategies poses important questions of how to understand current counter tendencies in farming and food provisioning. This working group therefore intents to stimulate comparative debate in order to enlarge our understanding about both rural and urban heterogeneity in governing semi‐subsistence food provisioning.

In new CEE member and candidate countries, semi‐subsistence farming strategies have long been recognized as a wide‐spread rural tradition In these countries, semi‐subsistence farming strategies often serve a social safety net function and are a crucial source to supplement off‐farm income In addition, they are often regarded as a sign of independence from the government, and have symbolic value for inhabitants of former socialist and communist countries Concerning the EU enlargement, semi‐subsistence farming strategies are thus becoming an increasing rural component in the European Union.

 Also within metropolitan areas, semi‐subsistence food provisioning strategies are emerging rapidly. While in developing countries, city dwellers are often driven into semisubsistence urban agriculture through a lack of resources, also in rich cities all over the world urban citizens engage in alternative food provisioning strategies to show resistance and rejection towards products of modern agriculture, to regain control over their nutrients and to somehow reconnect to nature.

 Even though rural and urban citizens may have different motivations to utilize semisubsistence food provisioning strategies, the underlying driving forces might be similar, such as the perseverance or regaining of autonomy and control over food production and showing resistance towards existing regimes by engagement in informal networks that work alongside (or contra) the mainstream approach to food production.

 Semi‐subsistence lifestyles in the countryside have been widely research but the link and possible new insights by comparative perspective with urban areas has not received much scientific attention so far. This workshop is thus aimed at creating a knowledge pool over the underlying driving forces and mechanisms which govern semi‐subsistence food and farming strategies in order to promote value driven, economically, ecologically and socially sustainable urban/rural food provisioning against the policy driven mainstream idea of modern agriculture.

 We invite researchers to submit an abstract of their paper dealing with empirical or theoretical reflections on the driving forces, structures and mechanisms of semisubsistence food and farming strategies in the countryside and‐or cities both within developing and developed countries.