Accepted paper:

Assembling environmental governance in the Swiss agriculture: multiplicity, agency and possibilities


Jérémie Forney (University of Neuchâtel)

Paper short abstract:

This paper develops an assemblage approach to governance in the context of the environmental regulation around agricultural production. It explores how policy and governance instruments interact and assemble and raises discussion around multiplicity, agency and possibilities in governance

Paper long abstract:

This paper wants to follow the new vistas that an assemblage approach exposes for the understanding and analysis of governance. Here, I understand governance as a shortcut to encompass a great diversity of practices led by a wide diversity of actors, including for instance a regulatory scheme resulting from a national policy, a certification process led by a big retailer and a participatory initiative developed by an NGO. Consequently, governance is framed as the result of multiple, changing and complex interactions of heterogeneous and highly diverse social and material elements, such as public policies, audit practices, or social movements, developing around related goals and objectives. In this paper, I will draw on the preliminary results of an international research on environmental governance in the specific context of agriculture and food (with case studies in Switzerland, New Zealand, The UK, and at the EU level). More specifically, I will develop an ethnography of a farmer led food label in Switzerland, and explore how specific policy and governance instruments and logics are introduced, displaced and reinterpreted along this agri-environmental governance assemblage. This perspective will emphasize: the fact that governance is made of a multitude of moving relations; the collective and distributed nature of agency, as produced by the assemblage, and not being the proprietary realm of specific agents (human or non-human); and finally, the open and always evolving nature of any governance assemblage, which helps to focus on potentialities and possible (and more desirable?) futures.

panel P087
Policy mobility in a globalised world: how ideas and practices of governance and management travel, settle and colonise new domains