Putting Local in its Place: An Agrifood System in Crisis and the Emergence of an Alternative Eco-Subjectivity
Salehabadi, Djahane Banoo Salehabadi
This thesis situates contemporary US agrifood localism within its social and historical context in order bring to light the ways in which contemporary agrifood localism is forging an alternative eco-subjectivity. Relying on articles on local agriculture and food published in two widely read academic journals, Agriculture and Human Values (AHV) and The Journal of Rural Studies (JRS) as my case studies, I (re)-construct what I call ?the localist discourse.? Interrogating this discourse, I contend that advocates of agrifood localization, because they often do not theorize place and scale, make spatial assumptions that have problematic theoretical and political consequences. Specifically, I extend Maria Fonte?s two-part model of agrifood localism, to specify that the relocalization perspective on localism?which advocates increased proximity between producer and consumer?tends to make assumptions about scale. The form of localization that promotes the preservation of local foods? summarized under the term origin-of-food perspective?is inclined to make assumptions about place. My work departs significantly from recent critics of agrifood localism, however, in that I engage with geographic theories of scale, place and space as a means to strengthen the concept of local, rather than to discard it. The act of historicizing substantive and theoretical localism in general and agrifood localism in particular, I argue, helps us perceive the potential the contemporary local agriculture and food movement has to usher in an alternative eco-subjectivity where social problems and their solutions are conceptualized as interrelated and as embedded in their ecological context.
Dissertation or Thesis