Doing Politics with Food: Alternative Agricultural Networks in Turkey
Erdem Evren (Leibniz-ZMO)
Paper short abstract:
This paper looks at the agricultural networks in Turkey with a focus on the relations between food and alternative political and economic visions.
Paper long abstract:
The expansion of capital accumulation in Turkey in the past two decades has predominantly relied on real estate, infrastructure and energy investments to lead to the destruction of large parcels of fertile land and the expropriation of commons such as meadows and rivers. The increasing industrialization of agriculture and animal husbandry around the same time further jeopardized existing food systems as multinational agro-corporations introduced GMO seeds and pushed for unregulated use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Finally, the decreasing quality of life in urban centers, along with the entrenchment of oppressive political practices, instigated some young and urban groups to move to the countryside and build eco-farms and communes, and organic food/permaculture infrastructures. This paper looks at how some of the politically and economically excluded groups in Turkey including small producers, urban dissidents and leftist politicians imagine the production, consumption and distribution of food as an integral part of doing politics differently. I trace a number of agricultural networks including consumer cooperatives and seed exchange initiatives and institutions such as the Farmers Union Confederation (Çiftçi-Sen) to discuss their attempts to bring to life an inclusive political-economic vision. I also compare these networks with the political movements that have emerged against extraction projects in the 2000s to reflect on their aims and chances for political viability.
Ethnographies of food inclusion and exclusion [Anthropology of Food Network]