Food futures and agroecologies in damaged environments: entangled species, sustainable livelihoods, contested knowledge

Sita Venkateswar (Massey University, Palmerston North)
Daniel Münster (Heidelberg University)
Krista Harper
Start time:
20 July, 2016 at 14:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel features relational approaches to the anthropology of food and agriculture against the backdrop of climate change, persistent inequality and contestations over science/knowledge.

Long abstract:

Questions of food resilience and sovereignty have assumed escalating importance across the world in the context of distress in rural areas worldwide and the precariousness of agricultural livelihoods. The increasing environmental toll of the industrial model of agriculture has eroded the earlier optimism of technological fixes (Green and other Revolutions) with their promise of food security. Agricultural intensification along the same lines is no longer a sustainable option to combat hunger or the projected increase in population in the decades to come. Relational political ecologies and multispecies conceptualisations of food and farming within these contexts help us to grasp the contemporary capitalist conjuncture with the complex web of human-microbe-plant-animal-ecosystem interconnections that have evolved through millennia. We invite papers that explore some of the following questions as a point of entry into a discussion of the current disjuncture and possible post-capitalist futures: • How can shifts toward multi-species perspectives enable innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to issues of food resilience and sustainability? • How might the incorporation of science and technology and a perspective that apprehends the infrastructures of food production to mitigate risk and uncertainty work in tandem with sustainable livelihoods for all species? • What are the ways that indigenous and relational ontologies (as opposed to Kantian/Cartesian dualisms) enrich our grasp of symbiosis to augment our efforts towards sustainability? • How can anthropologists understand capitalism in the "web of life" (Moore)? • How can multi-scalar approaches also encompass the mutuality and coexistence of a plurality of species, entwining the human with the non-human?