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Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371

Should we go ‘‘home’’ to eat?: toward a reflexive politics of localism
E. Melanie DuPuisa,, David Goodmanb
Department of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz, CA, USA


‘‘Coming home to eat’’ [Nabhan, 2002. Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods. Norton, New York] has
become a clarion call among alternative food movement activists. Most food activist discourse makes a strong connection between
the localization of food systems and the promotion of environmental sustainability and social justice. Much of the US academic
literature on food systems echoes food activist rhetoric about alternative food systems as built on alternative social norms. New
ways of thinking, the ethic of care, desire, realization, and vision become the explanatory factors in the creation of alternative food
systems. In these norm-based explanations, the ‘‘Local’’ becomes the context in which this type of action works. In the European
food system literature about local ‘‘value chains’’ and alternative food networks, localism becomes a way to maintain rural
livelihoods. In both the US and European literatures on localism, the global becomes the universal logic of capitalism and the local
the point of resistance to this global logic, a place where ‘‘embeddedness’’ can and does happen. Nevertheless, as other literatures
outside of food studies show, the local is often a site of inequality and hegemonic domination. However, rather than declaim the
‘‘radical particularism’’ of localism, it is more productive to question an ‘‘unreflexive localism’’ and to forge localist alliances that
pay attention to equality and social justice. The paper explores what that kind of localist politics might look like.
r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction European heritage. In both cases, although for different
reasons, the local has become ‘‘beautiful,’’ as was
Books such as ‘‘Coming home to eat’’ (Nabhan, 2002) ‘‘small’’ (‘‘pluriactive’’ in Europe) in the 1970s and
and ‘‘Eat Here’’ (Halweil, 2004) represent the current 1980s, ‘‘organic’’ (‘‘multifunctional’’) in the 1990s or—
clarion call among alternative food system advocates. at least in the US—‘‘wilderness’’ early in the last
US food activist discourse, with its growing discussion century.
of ‘‘foodsheds’’ and the problems of ‘‘food miles,’’ has In many cases, academics also have embraced
been making increasingly stronger connections between localization as a solution to the problems of global
the localization of food systems and the promotion of industrial agriculture. In the US, the academic literature
environmental sustainability and social justice. In on alternative food systems emphasizes the strength of
activist narratives, the local tends to be framed as the an embeddedness in local norms (Kloppenburg et al.,
space or context where ethical norms and values can 1996; Starr et al., 2003; DeLind, 2002), such as the ethics
flourish, and so localism becomes inextricably part of of care, stewardship and agrarian visions. This norma-
the explanation for the rise of alternative, and more tive localism places a set of pure, conflict-free local
sustainable, food networks. In Europe, localization has values and local knowledges in resistance to anomic and
become integral to a new E.U. system of devolved rural contradictory capitalist forces. In Europe, the encour-
governance to enhance rural livelihoods and preserve agement of local food systems has different roots. It has
emerged in the context of new forms of devolved rural
Corresponding author. governance in parallel with the slow process of reform of
E-mail addresses: (E.M. DuPuis), the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP (D. Goodman). is undergoing a gradual transformation from a strongly

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1994. Hassanein. This will also enable us to understand the claims for and tory food agenda that relies primarily on the naming against localism as a normative solution to globaliza- and following of a particular set of norms or imaginaries tion. ARTICLE IN PRESS 360 E. 2000.. In addition. nan. We then explore ideas from tion of a systemic ‘placelessness’. the US localism literature and the European scholarship forthcoming. to Holloway and Kneafsey (2004) argue that alternative ‘‘explore the ambiguities and subtleties of the ideas of food networks resist capitalism through a substantively ‘localness’ and ‘quality’’’ (Holloway and Kneafsey. p. and Allen et al. Unreflex. 2005. one that can contribute to a more democratic entails ‘‘a greater realization of connections between local food politics. ‘‘These spatialities are often associated with the desire to environmentally degrading food systems). This Eurocentric rural imaginary and defend its cultural is followed by a more substantial review of localist identity against a US-dominated. science that we believe provide useful pointers on how 2002. an ‘‘unreflexive’’ localism could (AAFN) and ‘short food supply chains’ (SFSC). 2000) and local social recent thoughtful critiques that have called for a closer relationships (Friedmann. not destructive of the alter. The romantic anti-politics of localism studies ive localism. D. 2003). 2002) into local ‘‘foodsheds’’ (Kloppenburg et al. 2002). 30). anti-reflex- in Europe. 1. First. it can deny the politics of the local. at the meso-level. We agree with the many ecologies’ (Murdoch et al. places. We will use these conceptual tools to examine both about place (Goodman and DuPuis. 1994) by ‘‘reembedding’’ food into ‘local 2000. on our past work. See also Allen et politics. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 centralized.M. There are strong parallels between the academic with potentially problematic social justice consequences. 2004. literature on alternative. Yet. Goodman and Watts. questionable scalar binary of global-local relations. attention to local politics. ‘alternative’ food practice standards and pre-determine 2002). For example.’’ culture is a key element of an integrated. we argue. ‘alternative agro-food networks’ discussion will show. we show how an ‘‘unreflex. Many of the arguments speak about food scholars who have acknowledged with David ‘‘relocalizing’’ food systems (Hendrickson and Heffer- Harvey (1996) that the local is not an innocent term. In this vein. also based to bring politics into analyses of local food networks. political sociology and political role in the building of alternative food systems (DuPuis. conventional.. 1). we observe below. corporate globaliza. p. ethical narratives also have become one pillar of a DuPuis. 424). food provisioning and reinforced support for multi. 2003. Supporters of local food systems overview of the a-political (anti-democratic. we begin with a brief functional agriculture. based on the rhetoric of food activism built on alternative social alternative standards of purity and perfection. 2002. (Esteva. we are cautious about an emancipa. productivist sectoral policy towards a more of the food system in which food and its production are decentralized model in which a multi-functional agri. aligned with a set of normative. and that place has a human geography. observing that it can provide the ideological foundations 1996). which we believe have strong parallels with US localist Our own work certainly supports the view that global perspectives. In particular. while arguably less prone to the radical ive) bent in current food localism discourse in the US transformative idealism of US social movements. DuPuis. and that this ‘‘ethic of care’’ is intrinsically spatial: native food agenda (against global. In common with these scholars. regard (brief because the critique has largely already been relocalization and re-embedding as strategies to realize a covered. 1997).. therefore. Localist food 2000. we will question a consumers. can have two major negative consequences. as We are therefore joining a growing number of agro. imaginaries. DuPuis et al. episodic food their ‘economies of quality’ rather than to engender the ‘scares’ and heightened consumer health and food safety alternative political processes by which local decisions concerns in Europe have stimulated a ‘turn’ to quality in about the food system could come about democratically. 2003. big.’’ Norm-based and vulnerable to corporate cooptation (Guthman. that are norms or a kind of ‘‘alternative ethic.1. ‘‘value-chain’’ rural development studies in Europe. threaten a similar romantic move to the ‘‘saving nature’’ rhetoric of environmental social movements. tion. p. See also Gaytan. it can lead to proposed solutions. our critique is to put localist actions on a better political p. thereby ‘‘recovering a sense of community’’ for reactionary politics and nativist sentiment (Hinrichs. and networks [which] allows an localism which is based on a fixed set of norms or ethical politics of consumption’’ (1998. our critique is sumption is undertaken within an ethical framework’’ meant to be cautionary. As the following on the quality ‘turn’. With these aims in mind. more pluralistic This kind of food reform movement seeks to delineate approach to rural development (Gray. Hartwick argues that a geography of consumption footing. ‘‘implies that food production–con- al. In their study of alternative visions of food and ive’’ localism arises from a perfectionist utopian vision farming among alternative food producers and activists .. examination of ‘‘the local’’ of local food systems. 2004). Lowe et al.. particularly by Hinrichs. rational form of norm-based action. particularly in their lack of reflexive industrial agriculture has succeeded through the crea.). 2003). pre-set ‘‘standards. localized food systems and Second. The intent of foster relations of ‘closeness’ or ‘connectedness’’’ (2004. 296 quoted in Winter.

In social justice literature. Hendrickson and Heffernan (2002) corre. Murdoch et al. 362) state implies the inclusion and exclusion of particular people. ARTICLE IN PRESS E. unrepresentative group decides what is ‘‘best’’ for that are able to benefit from the restructuring of the everyone and then attempts to change the world by food system. ‘‘[o]nly food economies that are bounded. ‘‘the local’’ as a concept intrinsically Circle. To formulate a more sion of space and the speed-up of time are key reflexive politics of localism. This reorganization of time and space indicates Childs (2003) refers to as ‘‘the politics of conversion’’: a a great deal of power on the part of just a few actors small. capitalism. the (2000. makes this point forcefully: ‘‘deliberative’’) politics is the ‘‘politics of respect’’. converting everyone to accept their utopian ideal. The naturalized local then becomes heralded These positions are based in a counter-logic to the as the incubator of new economic forms whose political economy of agriculture arguments about the emergence configures a ‘new rural development para- rise of capitalist agriculture as a global corporate regime digm’ for some observers (Ploeg et al. DuPuis. ences between various groups not as polarizing divisions in which care ethics. The representation of the local actors in the food system in a sensible and sustainable and its constructs—quality. and the environment. 2003). In Europe. the critiques made by Hinrichs capitalism (See also Krippner. 2001). and a sustain. As Hendrickson and Heffernan Food activists in the US and proponents in Europe of (2002. what Childs calls freedom. Childs argues that the more democratic (or what if global is domination then in the local we must find we are calling ‘‘reflexive’’ and ‘‘open’’. is healthy for people privilege certain analytical categories and trajectories. 2003). 2000). 1999. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 361 in the Upper Midwest. embeddedness. Here. In other words. (2003) can be seen as raising the problem . Hendrickson and Heffernan (2002. D. Simi. that is. ‘‘open. 2002. trust. a call to action under the claim that the racy. but on articulating p. (McMichael. can be regulated’’ because they bypass the ‘‘romantic’’ model of society and then working for ‘‘corporate principles of distance and durability’’ (1994. in their analysis of a local Kansas City Food others have noted. (2000).. such as Nancy Fraser (1995) and Iris Young counter to global power is local power. and returns control of the food whose effect is to naturalize and occlude the politics of system to local communities’’. ‘‘reflexive’’ processes which bring Pointing to Habermas’ idea of the ‘‘colonization of together a broadly representative group of people to the lifeworld’’ by the instrumental (anomic) reason of explore and discuss ways of changing their society. distant others can structure the socially just? Along with Harvey (2001). what system movements across the globe. local currency. 2000). ironies and contradictions involved in all resistance. p. a problem that is being concerned that localism can be based on the interests explicitly rejected by those involved in local food of a narrow. p. 2000). the ‘‘Local’’ becomes the our formulation of an open politics of localism. but as grounds for respectful—and even productive— able vision become the explanatory factors in the disagreement (cf.. society to meet that standard. sectionalist. a trenchant observer of the ‘‘transcommunal’’ and what Benhabib (1996) calls globalization of food. we are shape and use of the locale. social change. 30). and on the idea of an ‘‘open the global food system. Hassanein. care— way that sustains the community. we creation of alternative food systems. we draw specifically on the components of accumulation in the modern era. 182) globalized mass consumption of ‘placeless foods’ found that one key definition of sustainable food (Murdoch and Miele. regional trading ‘‘quality’’ and who do you trust to provide you with this associations.’’ continuous.M. In these norm or place fully democratic processes squarely at the center of ethics-based explanations. elite. Together with other scholars of contemporary democ- lization thesis. Winter and larly. Localism becomes a counter-hegemony to this globa.Winter (2003) local is invested with similar hopes as a redoubt against and Allen et al. 349) describe it: agrarian-based rural development both therefore argue that localist solutions resist the injustices perpetrated by As people foster relationships with those who are no industrial capitalism. These processes also take account of the unintended spondingly embrace the local as the normative realm of consequences. quality? What kind of society is the local embedded in? and local control over politics and regulation’’. Friedmann. Kloppenburg et al. This compres- we call an ‘‘unreflexive’’ politics. and treat ongoing conflicts and differ- This echoes much of the US local food system literature. p. But is localism in itself more longer in their locale. the emphasis is not on creating an ideal utopian regional. locally owned processing. even authoritarian. that ‘‘the Food Circle’s perceived role is to connect all places and ways of life. Unreflexive politics are generally based on what tion. realization. desire. power rests with those who politics’’ of reflexivity to envision a localism that is more can structure this system by spanning distance and socially just while leaving open a definition of social decreasing time between production and consump- justice. context in which cultural values work against anomic From this perspective. the local. In other words. (2000. a place where caring can and does happen. Hinrichs and Kremer (2002). Who do you care for and how? As Hinrichs. involved production in a ‘‘proximate system’’ which But who gets to define ‘‘the local’’? What exactly is emphasized ‘‘locally grown food.

a coali- of the ‘local’ and becoming ‘‘elitist and reactionary. Several Texas rural localities.M. health officials appealing to nativist sentiments. In their study of alternative A reflexive local politics of food would entail taking food initiatives in California. particularly those histories that unhealthy working class families. 2002). forthcoming). which separated the Matt Garcia’s A World of Its Own (2001) and Herbert’s ‘‘dirty’’ from the ‘‘clean’’ and. 2005). with all variations from this ‘‘defensive politics of localization. rhetoric describing orange growers as democratic yeo- 1991. can regard conventionally produced foods as equally The power and effectiveness of white middle class locally embedded as organic products. class and gender. Platt. genetically. in entrepreneurial.’’ whether of ‘‘degraded’’ urban environments or center of the story. These movements have accomplished much. and express confidence these possessive investments in race. For example. which universalizes and cal analysis of support for local farming in five rural elevates particular ways of eating as ideal when. D. p. without which they would have con- These critiques show that the politics of localism can tinued to be places of extremely high mortality (Tarr. tion of white middle-class reform groups. milk is a culturally. On the basis of reform movements—from abolition to alar—cannot be these findings. ARTICLE IN PRESS 362 E. created a ‘‘sanitarian’’ examine the creation of local rural places. 1998) germ politics.’’ In this respect. The social history of One way to do this is to consider recent reinterpreta- middle class reform movements bent on ‘‘improve. and associated with advocacy of more socially just ‘‘care historically specific food (DuPuis. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 that unreflexive localism can lead to a potentially reform agendas by universalizing particular ways of undemocratic. 301) has made the As critiques of the US reform movements have noted. particularly with the rise of critiques are not made to de-legitimize localism but to a new. the leaders of these into account ways in which people’s notions of ‘‘right organizations articulate a clear preference for ecological living.’’ and especially ‘‘right eating. For example. p. of recent initiatives to relocalize the food system in 2003). White Plague (1987) show how white middle classes established a welfare system that distinguished between created systems of racial domination in California and the ‘‘deserving’’ and the ‘‘undeserving’’ poor. Mink. it provide a better understanding of the complexity and is important to pay more attention to the ways in which pitfalls of local politics and the long-term deleterious our possessive investments in our own racial privilege effects of reform movements controlled primarily by influences how we define problems and solutions. Winter (2003. one of the feminist social historians have critiqued these welfare most shocking aspects of Matt Garcia’s history of Los reform movements for their narrow race. in the same way. Lipsitz (1998) calls US white middle class politics ‘‘the Hinrichs and Kremer (2002) show that local food system possessive investment in whiteness.’’ sewer systems. with mortgage credit and education being socially homogenized and exclusionary. DuPuis (2002) shows the connection man with cheerful pictures of them dressed up in Ku between the rise of US food reform and welfare Klux Klan robes. but also incorporates the racial tal. Orange growing communities put movements. (Hamlin. areas of England and Wales within ideologies of all eating—like all human action—is imperfect and ‘defensive localism’. in fact. However. 1999). these 1996. in fact. In undermine the tendency of specific groups to work from Europe. fundamental point that to assume that locally embedded this ‘‘politics of perfection’’ stems not only from a class economic activities necessarily involve non-instrumen. 37) cautions that these attempts institutionalized racism is hidden behind a representa- to construct regional identity can be associated with a tion of what is ‘‘normal’’.’’ are wrapped up in sustainability over social justice. Hinrichs (2003. Hinrichs (2000. However. this ‘‘politics of perfection’’.’ spatial relations with social relations. DuPuis. and defensive militant living as ‘‘perfect.’’ and farmers elevated milk to the status of a ‘‘perfect Allen et al. class and Angeles orange production regions in the early part of gender ‘‘maternalist’’ politics based on a particular the twentieth century is the juxtaposition of political norm or ‘‘standard’’ as the ‘‘right’’ way to live (Baker.’’ leading to reification norm represented as deviations. members of the middle class.’’ This possessive movement members tend to be white. hegemonic politics. unrepresentative. respectively.’’ particularism. In fact. This is accomplished by a sleight of hand in which Iowa. ethic’’ political agendas. (2003) also demonstrate that localism in food’’ which would improve the general health of all current alternative food movements is not necessarily bodies when. middle-class investment has a material aspect in the monopolization consumers and that the movement threatens to be of resources. 30) concludes that ‘‘the denied. turn to local food may cover many different forms of especially in terms of providing US cities with water and agriculturey giving rise to a wide range of politics. be problematic and contradictory. market-based processes of change in Such a politics would actively seek to expose and the current food system. In a case-study two instances that Lipsitz emphasizes (See also Cohen. (See also Allen. more fractured middle class politics in the US. p. in which the middle class controlled both Hispanic workers ‘‘in their place’’ in more ways than . tions of US history which have put race squarely at the ment. ethics-based interpersonal relations is to ‘‘conflate representation of whiteness as the ‘unmarked category. 1995). and notes that local consumers contradictory (Guthman and DuPuis. Michael Winter (2003) also situates his empiri.

although expressed in an lized. farming’. this rural imaginary has also had potentially damaging consequences of international a discernible influence in several recent contributions to agricultural trade liberalization. however. 1994. new forms of economic EU policy circles that the consumer-driven ‘turn’ to organization. which builds forms of farm income support. industrial modes of food provisioning and the ‘‘unmarked’’ discourse of small family farms. economic. that ‘‘Endogenous development patterns tend to materi- Although this market-oriented approach is more alize as self-centered processes of growth: that is. 403. this threat is identified Unlike its US counterpart.. Marsden et regional food cultures. the normative with globalization by left social movements. ‘alternative agro-food networks’ (AAFN) and ‘short However. A rural imaginary also infuses the characterization of ial valorization. original emphasis). unlike its predecessor of agricultural moder- processes. prominent expression of this oppositional. DuPuis..M. sources of value-added and related processes of territor. and al. spectrum. These defensive moves European rural sociology.. protect European rural economy and society from the To varying degrees. European local food movements stem Madre conference: while the movement itself is led by from a very different history of class. these ‘golden arches’ by valorizing regional cuisines and their constitute a ‘‘certain kind of rural civilization’’ (The rural networks of provision arguably is the most Times. The Slow Food ecologically diverse rural environments. adopt conventions of product quality which emphasize Its normative content is evident in the view that this new territorial provenance in localized socio-ecological paradigm. Calls for the relocalization of from the neoliberal state and from the right-wing food systems appear to stem from a perceived need to National Alliance (Hooper. As UK which. funding of the Slow Food Movement’s recent Terra Needless to say. cultural. farm-based the locality itself’’ (Ploeg and Long. the so-called ‘green box’ payments. globa- ment’’ in national traditions. 2004). and institutional changes associated with quality has created a wider range of farm-based the ‘turn’ to quality in food provisioning constitute a livelihood opportunities for those producers who can ‘‘new’’ rural development paradigm (Ploeg et al. 2). Francois Mitterand. 1987). 7 February. the gradual re-orientation of the EU’s . ARTICLE IN PRESS E. p. is ‘‘rooted in historical traditions’’ and indeed embedded food systems are seen as a means to enhance ‘‘can be understood as a kind of repeasantization of the competitiveness and economic and environmental European farming’’ (ibid. Perceptions that this civiliza. In the words of Movement and its efforts to counter the march of the former French president. In the case of France. 2000). by a comple- mise forged by the market-based. A case in point is the UK. whereas for idealization of the ‘rural local’—the re-localization and the radical right it comes from immigration. local ‘McDonaldization’ of regional food cultures (Murdoch markets where producers and consumers interact. much of the funding came gendered relationships. against the homogenizing effects of ‘placeless’. Murdoch et al. consid. while allowing them to provide ‘‘ethnic’’ neoliberal compromise in Italy can be seen in the entertainment in exclusive white supper clubs. whose brief was to of local resources’’ (Ploeg and van Dijk. formulate a new strategy for agriculture following the This normative position is underpinned by the claim 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in Britain. the European relatively large parts of the total value generated academic literature on local food systems places great through this type of development are re-allocated in emphasis on the economic viability of new. This Organization rules. as we discuss below. a and colonias. burning crosses on lawns if Hispanic families tried managed to bring both left and right agendas together to move into neighborhoods beyond the labor camps around the European rural imaginary. These re-embedding of agro-food practices in local eco-social currents also can be seen in the strange rural compro. notably for agri. on the empirical observation that European agriculture environmental and rural development schemes. where re-localized. and it is argued that ‘‘Europe’s countryside market-oriented farming sector is articulated very (should) be safeguarded as precious ‘cultural capital’ ’’ clearly in the 2002 Report of the Policy Commission by promoting ‘‘farming styles based on the optimal use on the Future of Food and Farming. 1999. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 363 one. approach more recently has been transposed into the These changes are reinforced by a growing perception in proposition that the practices. the rural imaginary also food supply chains’’ (SFSC) as sources of resistance embraces a distinctive European ‘‘possessive invest. is entangled in a diverse constellation of socio-ecologi- ered to be non-trade distorting under World Trade cal. sustainability of farming. D. have noted earlier. nuanced and muted elsewhere in the EU. rural value-added mentary discourse of economic performance and com- policies of neoliberal governments in both Italy and the petitiveness. It is particularly salient in the include replacement of direct production subsidies by notion of endogenous rural development. xii). in Europe. 2002. vibrant rural communities. relations—is obscured. This view of local food This diversity is conceptualized in terms of ‘styles of systems as the foundation of a more competitive. at least in part. ‘militant tion is now under threat extend across the political particularism’. which has attracted policy support. 1999. racial and left-leaning Carlo Petrini. p. For example. and historical relations. and Miele. nization. 1995. by a stroke of political alchemy. 2000). Murdoch and Miele.

2003). The integration of new and traditional rural of Amin’s conception is ‘‘to see political activity in places as plural. 8). for example—that can be translated into higher and toward a conversation about how to make local prices. we need to begin by opening . DuPuis. In this respect. The former attention to the politics of its appropriation. Thus producers are encouraged to ‘short circuit’ industrial chains by building ‘‘new associational The purpose of our critique is not to deny the local as networks’’ and creating ‘‘different relationships with a powerful political force against the forces of globaliza- consumers’’ through engagement with ‘‘different con. a market-oriented. not least the struggles to appropriate and landscape. (2002. imperfect politics in place. 397). In keeping with this economistic analysis. However. ment re-emerge with AAFN/SFSC seen as new sources These analyses usefully remind us of the dynamism of of value added that can be retained locally and hence as valorization processes. and territoriality has en. The merit p. 2002. Thus he argues are empirically and theoretically conjoined principally in for a ‘‘shift in emphasis from the politics of place to a the form of economic rent. What well-known ‘resistance paysanne’ ’’ (Ploeg et al. ‘economic’ localism also occlude place cipher for the local. formulations of this and empirically. though without explicit politics in place’’ (p. p. Politics in place.1 ‘‘y sees cities and regions as performing a kind of As we have noted previously. the local and SFSC proposal for a new politics of the local.’’ SFSC are in a position to valorize go of a local that fetishizes emplacement as intrinsically those qualifiers of ‘the local’ and its socio-ecological more just.. 2000. 397. In this instrumental context. 2000. discursive construct and is deployed to convey meaning In seeking to bring politics ‘back in’ to analyses of at a distance. p. ‘‘The ability of quality food space and scale and the new forms of commodification products to secure premium prices and so generate of territoriality. original emphasis). they do not address catalysts of rural economic regeneration and dynamism. and contested’’ (p. tion process. This paradigm change is predicated contrast.. significant ‘synergies at farm enterprise level’ as farm making. places might be seen scope (Ploeg and Renting. We have to move away from the idea that attributes—terroir. 426) do stress that research to advance greater understanding of the processes determining ‘‘the attribution politics of place is prone (See also Castree. landrace spe. accumulation remains an opaque category. and allocation of economic value across the different actors in the To forge our understanding of the local as an supply chains’’ be placed on the agenda. However. the claims articulated earlier integrating value-adding activities into the farm produc- to buttress the concept of endogenous rural develop. by (Ploeg et al. economic struggle and socially constructed scale of value added model’’ (Goodman. With ‘‘their capacity to re-socialize or protective territories for themselves. and reproduction.. the political driving forces behind the reconfiguration of As argued elsewhere... Renting et al. 425). 396–397). Ploeg and Renting. and thereby becomes a source of value. D. 2004. Instead of logic of economies of scale to a focus on economies of seeing political activity as unique. This requires letting re-spatialize food. a veritable black box.M. ‘the local’ becomes a food systems more just. conceptually as discussed at length below. is ‘‘a nonterritorial way of viewing place on a transition from the agricultural modernization politics in an age of global connectivity. tion. p.. The local as an arena of political- excess profits is a central plank of (this) market-led. 2000. 14–15). some authors discern place-based politics. Territoriality. thereby 1 avoiding the normative contradictions to which a Marsden et al.’’y ‘‘a distinctive politics of place the contours of a new rural development paradigm in based on the powers of proximity/particularity in a the processes and practices that are (re-)valorizing the world of displaced and multiscalar happenings and local as a site of new value streams and accumulation power geometries’’ (pp. 2002. mobilizing on-farm resources and diversify output by re- pp. we are drawn to Amin’s (2002) Bluntly stated. local food networks. similarly is unexamined. ARTICLE IN PRESS 364 E. 2000) and a re-emphasis on as the sites which juxtapose the varied politics—the non-commoditized circuits characteristic of the ‘‘old and local. open. 2000). p.. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 Common Agricultural Policy towards a wider notion of development practices is regarded as the source of rural development involving more decentralized policy. 2004). Rethinking the idea of the local: taking politics framed as a site of new opportunities for value-added seriously generation. from this perspective. households reduce their dependence on mass markets by hanced receptivity to this discourse (Lowe et al. habitat or craft knowledge in ways which sustain the flows of economic rent arising in the ‘new naturalize the social relations underlying its production economic spaces’ created by AAFN/ SFSC (Ploeg et al. multifunctionality. matters is this juxtaposition’’ (Amin. 397). traditional knowledge. 403). national. Marsden et al. food systems become just by virtue of making them local cies. and global—that we find today. figured by politics. Our real goal is to understand how to make ventions and constructions of quality’’ that evoke localism into an effective social movement of resistance ‘‘locality/region or speciality and nature’’ (Marsden et to globalism rather than a way for local elites to create al. the local is 2. 2002.

(DuPuis. the Toronto Food Policy Council. 5). projects and reconfigurations of the local has been douw. we seek to free food reform from its control by that we need to understand the urban to understand consumers of a particular class and ethnicity who have local food systems. localization can for healthy and safe food provision. activism.’’ These land food producers in food relocalization projects has studies show how local elites go about controlling city . political problems that arise when decisionmaking is occupy the spaces created by the withdrawal of the moved down to what gets characterized as ‘‘the lowest nation-state from regulatory arenas. relationships both within and between the urban and Trust. 1993) or activity by purifying it. is the rural. regionalism. it becomes particularly problematic in the study Times. if only for purely demographic reasons. In relationships nor reflexive democratic processes. this place is taken by food politics whose systems debate into the larger debate over devolutionist ethos and organization are typically urban.M. some cases. guarantor of an egalitarian ‘‘politics of care. While this lacuna between organized crime and New York’s Fulton Fish may have been of less significance in earlier studies of Market comes immediately to mind here (New York rurality. DuPuis. Secondly. to understand the ways largely ignored. the role of sarily incompatible with globalization and may be open urban political interests in the articulation of these to deployment in a neoliberal ‘‘glocal’’ logic (Swynge. other words. Vandergeest and DuPuis. solution because it can result in unproductive inter. we will ‘‘depurify’’ ideas normative—‘‘gesellshaft/gemeinshaft’’ explanations of the local and of trust by re-admitting politics into an and give greater weight to the opening up of political understanding of food relocalization as a social move. whether the ‘‘urban–rural food alliances’’ intrinsically just. ARTICLE IN PRESS E. it is necessary to place the local food foreground. For example. These forms of governance. Nearly all food councils—The Kansas City tion that have been a part of US middle class. we will review various existing forms of power. trust involves the certainty of harm if perhaps not surprisingly. 1997a. there has been little attention to political. D. another way of depoliticizing an of the 1970s and 80s (McLeod. Yet. such as local food systems controlled by and urban and rural geography. 1995). 1976. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 365 up the black box of ‘‘trust’’ and ask: where does that been entirely ignored. Urban studies (1987). lachia (1980) and most evident today in the studies of city growth politics first initiated by Logan and Harvey 2. Belasco. localization may be a zero-sum and the associated revival of ‘local’ food products. This enables a rethinking of the local not as a A related approach to the ‘unreflexive localism’ of romantic move toward emancipation but as an ‘‘open’’. ment. This ‘‘perfect’’ politics is today’s ‘‘food policy councils’’ are based in urban embedded in social narratives of salvation and degrada. not the region that contains the producers. in which localization can lead to inequitable conse. localization is not neces. politics will lead. for all their regional competition. A brief overview of work in these Dahl’s historical analysis of political power in New three areas—urban studies. While many areas of urban studies have something to quences requires understanding how it might relate to offer to the analysis of local food systems. there are vast areas of work on these and urban environmental history. p. Contemporary simply reinforce local elites at the expense of other local expressions of these food politics include AAFN/SFSC actors. European research on the quality turn would emphasize inclusive and reflexive politics in place. only two subdisciplines here: community power studies Interestingly. 2002. Yet. tend to be particularly one does not follow the rules. that insofar as politics are drawn to the analytical To do this. and the politics Haven. Finally. Food Circle.— reformist culture since the early nineteenth century are named after the city that contains the consumers. which are characterized by examples. processes. we believe. 1997) although there are clearly many other of local food systems. In other words. romantic. The historical relationship unfamiliar with urban sociology. and to campaign appropriate level’’ (2005. to less reliance on In the next section of the paper. the relocalization literature has tended to treat trust as food politics. This suggests Instead. in an overview of new politics emerged in the 1980s to challenge the environ- localist forms of rural governance. The findings of these community power studies make it difficult to conceive of the local as the ethical The politics between city elites and their urban hinter. therefore. b). continuing with John of scale—will illustrate the power of understanding local Gaventa’s study of power and powerlessness in Appa- food systems as a politics in place. We would argue that this is due to trust come from and is it always. Rural sociologists. etc. Connecticut (1961). organized crime. Lawrence. lists three major mental degradation caused by industrial agriculture. recent momentum and growing diversity. Better analysis of local urban–rural historically set the agenda for ‘‘saving’’ the food system.1. regional cuisines and specialty foods. First. intrinsically good? In a disciplinary split between urban and rural sociology. three issues that have been largely ignored in the local Studies of community power began with Robert food studies literature. like all other social interaction. It is not necessarily based on equitable the urban political interests around farmers’ markets.

obvious points. The prospect that greater inter-regional competition dergeest and DuPuis. to protect and exploit. and then by an ethnic political regime. compared to an ethnic urban regime. but also in alliance with middle benefit from localization. The problem and potentials We also need to recognize. D.’’ she asks her friend and provisioning systems because they saw this system as fellow cow. in Marsden’s words. and the ecosystems that relate cities to nature (Cronon.2. At other times. time I backwashed in the water trough. although often constrained the by and Carlo Petrini—are looking to Europe—particularly increasingly global competition over economic growth. For the most part. government professionals and large. p. The extent to which European urban– Governs?—demonstrates the power of elites in that city. ostensibly to solve food access be a cost to alliances with local elites that stand to problems for the poor. Thus. With the disintegration of this territoriality becomes a component of value. it also modern consumer–government–industrial food alliance. many of these new middle-class urban consumer leading to. one commer- (DuPuis. and the industry leaders. DuPuis. rural relationships in fact fulfill this ideal. They emphasize the role of local institutions. that exploring is the difference in the interface between a rather than a romantic movement of resistance. 2. In the source of differentially commodified relationships. While these may seem like class consumers struggling with tight budgets (DuPuis. they often get missed in homogenous 2002). Who the countryside. resource use. There may also concern over prices. ‘‘because I thought it was because of the cheaply and efficiently meeting their needs (Cohen. becomes a commodity in itself. historical literature on sectionalism and regional ur- They have shown how middle class urban consumer ban–rural/farmer–consumer alliances. would have had significantly different relationships with their surrounding rural brethren. ‘‘once regime—has unraveled. 1991).’’ As this case 2003). rural development paradigm in Europe as well. Italy and France—as a kind of ‘‘city on a hill’’ example One of the classics of urban community power of a different kind of political alliance between cities and research—Dahl’s (1961) study of New Haven. outcomes. In some become political bedfellows. 2002). ARTICLE IN PRESS 366 E. in California. for US cities. (Van. the agenda of urban consumer elites focused supporting sustainability need to ask whether there are on food safety and quality. urban environmental historians against other places as it is a form of resistance to some have come the closest to trying to answer these abstract conception of ‘‘the global. if not zero-sum. later replaced by local Europe’s global garden (Friedberg. For much of the modern urban period. Local social movements periods.’’ Two literatures are questions. 2002). however. purposes—recreation. 2004) including food systems xenophobia. part of the larger Fordist ‘‘bargain’’ that defined shows. ‘‘Is that why supported the growth of large scale capitalist urban Marge acts so weird to me. Cox. 1078) observe. a some urban consumers are looking for new allies.’’ US. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 and regional politics. particularly applicable here: the economic geography elites and political coalitions in the creation of urban literature on regional industrial competitiveness. defined as sanitation and costs to allying themselves with xenophobic sectionalism inspection. sectional competition and xenophobia can modes of urban livelihood provisioning. The dimensions and . extent to which US consumers will be able to re-create While Dahl was not much interested in how city Europe in their backyards are all key questions in politics affected the urban hinterland. as human geographers are vastly different. old patrician families becomes the new California and Africa becomes maintained political control. 1985. this agenda has included a or ‘‘defensive localism’’ (Winter. DuPuis. One interesting question worth have long understood (Harvey. scale global capitalism—the old sanitarian Fordist Buller and Morris (2004.M. sectionalism can walk a thin line in the creation of modern urban ecosystems (Tarr. 1999 p. For example. To what extent have different competition between regions. reformers in the US have been a powerful political force In some cases. may lead to uneven. cial for the state cheese industry features two cows. Sectional politics rural politics under a patrician urban regime. localism patrician. offers a Now. leisure. 1996. 2004). At first. political interests clashed or coincided? localism is as much a protection of particular places So far. this Fordist triangulation between serious challenge to the notion of relocalization as a new urban consumers. Urban elites also have sought to gain and references to ‘‘community’’ and ‘‘trust’’ in the localist maintain power over their rural hinterlands for other discourse on food. 507). it is worth understanding the contemporary politics of food thinking about how each of these urban political elites localism. 2003). and industrial and an ethnic politics with a can be mobilized as a powerful strategy of territorial rural agrarian politics. ‘‘new rural geographies movements—particularly those inspired by Alice Waters of value’’ (Marsden. one white middle class consumers—in alliance with the of which is embarrassed because she has a spot on her growing class of government professionals—actively flank that resembles the state of Wisconsin. etc. Consider an urban–. the extent to although the social composition of that elite group which they will be able to maintain this ideal as Spain changed over time. between a regional development effort and a form of Platt. 1995). 2005.

In this reconfiguration of political scales. 1998. Using Sanders. learning regions and knowledge economies. p. 2005. to these new rural geographies will be disequalizing. 208) Lovering. producers but also of other city residents (DuPuis. (2002) and DuPuis and Block (2002) show how different the problem is that SFSC and their localized space–time urban–rural political alliances resulted in the establish- equations may be unique and resistant to replication. equates to the acceptance of programs. which leads these authors to urge that ‘‘we need add to the understanding of local food systems today. 1999. In other localist solutions and which merely perpetuate local words. 2000). ARTICLE IN PRESS E. p. studies may help provide explanations for the relative mies and sustaining regional economic competitiveness. 2001).3. Dean. Elizabeth Sanders has development. Antipode. From this more critical perspective. ‘rural development clustering’. Although this critique is addressed to the ‘new’ the subnational and global levels are gaining promi- economic geography and its obsession with industrial nence at the expense of the nation-state. Relocalization can be seen as part of the restructuring of ingly neglected’’ (our emphasis). ness for the well-being of people in places are correspond. decisionmaking to local networks of self-governing opment. globalization processes are producing a new ‘‘scalar porary capitalism (Amin and Thrift. taking an enterprise-centered approach to the concept of 1999. (2002) express their misgivings that of agrarian and urban politics in several US regions. DuPuis socioecological assets and competences. following Harvey actors. productivism more successful in promoting democratic. 436). relocalization can be part and parcel of what inequalities? In this respect. and its implications for processes of rural 1999. as agro-food studies ‘meets’ regional devel. One possible point of government toward ‘‘governance’’: the devolution of departure. managing global capitalism’’ (Lawrence. 1995)—notably loca. usefully highlights the normative stakes at issue in 1997a. and this is a deceptively simple point. 2000). For example. it has been characterized as ‘‘glocalization’’ (Swyngedouw. the importance of ‘territorial coalitions’ in structures. DuPuis. D. ment of different dairy market order policies in the This distinctiveness creates ‘‘one of the most significant Chicago and New York milksheds. 2002. because In other words. 2005. calls ‘‘neoliberal govern- organization of regional institutions in American and mentality. 9). 1984).M. neoliberal globalization as an intrinsic part of it. Localism and neoliberal globalization focus had led several leading economic geographers to deplore what they see as a concomitant retreat from Several influential social constructionist formulations political economy and the neglect of exploitation. reloca- contesting and improving local positions in the geo. Thus one current has explored the and above a producer class. This historical paradoxes of the new rural development paradigm’’ perspective on the politics of regionalism could greatly (p. with Cox (2002). lization appears to be not so much in resistance to graphic division of production and consumption. also has generated intense debate in economic geography in entails a landlord class—often living in local cities—over recent years. fix’’ in the geographic division of labor of the state Special Issue. a process that districts. In these cases. 1999) have observes of the ‘‘focus on the minutiae of change. how will this affect potential political Agro-food studies here finds itself at a crossroads that alliances? Agrarian politics. b) and the ‘‘hollowing out of the state’’ (Jessop. we need to pay attention to local institutional level. it has ‘‘endorsed and fostered the self regulation of when we attempt to implement a local food system individuals and communities which. In this case. in suggested that the embrace of localist forms of control particular linkages between firms in economic clus. examined the inter-connections between different forms Thus Marsden et al. the perspectives gained from urban of skilled labor—in generating agglomeration econo. techniques interests. 2005. As in the SFSC literature. Lawrence. historical scholarship on the Dean (1999). strength or weakness of urban–rural food alliances. is to affirm. are only just beginning to be explored. value. explain why ‘‘farmer-labor alliances’’ were more salient reflecting the asymmetrical spatial distributions of in some regions than others. using Foucault. ‘‘These studies are very partial and the wider that are themselves a response to wider problems in consequences of economic change or firm competitive. 3). 436). power of contemporary global–local relations argue that and politics in scaling the space economy of contem. at the regional strategy. if the racial or ethnic composition of cities to ensure that SFSC ‘‘collectively make a major spatial differs significantly from the characteristics of the rural impact’’ (p. As Perrons (2001. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 367 expressions of this new competitive territoriality of European political development is revealing (Sanders. (Jessop. 33(2). A number of authors (Jessop. lized knowledges and interpersonal networks and pools 2005). coordinated through multi-layered institutional (1985). Bensel. and the interests of this significance of territorially specific competences of landlord class often differ not only from those of ‘untraded dependencies’ (Storper. the individual enterprise is placed very much at the center of the analysis. p. reflexive and global competition’’ (Lawrence. This 2. hinterland. at least in California. to progress the concept of rural development clustering’’ For example.’’ . We need to ask: which local institutions are and procedures that support market rule. ‘‘are experiments in sub-national regional governance tersy’’.

’’ As Castree (2004. relational conceptualizations of place promise Indeed. governance. 1997a. and hierarchies among geo. the ontological claim that ‘‘translocal tiesy in part The contested social constructedness of scale also leads constitute those places. ARTICLE IN PRESS 368 E. 2002. cited in Amin. This stance is certainly given ‘in the order of things’. 134) puts to recognition of what Agnew (1999. 504) calls the it. 1993. p. 391). In this 2 Although not detailed here. they depict place as ‘‘nodes in 512. native’ social norms. the presumption that localization intrinsi. of course. reveal lines of theoretical enquiry that may be helpful in However. is not preordained but can be reconfigured through cally stands as a force against globalization seems. anti-trust and the state protection of emergence of new economic forms incorporating ‘alter- citizens’ health and welfare. the quality ‘turn’ literature takes the ontology of greater analytical purchase than the current presump- the local as given. 1991. as ‘‘specific yet Despite its potential complementarity. 2003). Agro-food studies could draw inspira. in the absence of specific case. from the ‘local’ to the ‘global’. ‘strong’ boundaries around places—that is. 724) calls a ‘‘rooted translocalism’’—is to be preferred spatial and scalar political processes in the social to one that is ‘‘place-bound’’ (Castree. Instead. the agro-food globalized sites’’ (Watts. . not as a category to be explicated in tion in agro-food studies that the ontology of place is terms of societal processes. In contesting ‘‘attempts to put The new politics of scale (NPS) ‘‘refers to the produc. 2001. domain’’ (Castree.’’ (Brenner.2 construction of place. 592. 135). In fact. This is a dangerous political bargain. 135). ‘‘geographical embeddedness of power relationships’’ (p. their ‘‘relational imaginaries together contest a view ‘‘historicity of spatiality’’: the changes over time in the of places as ‘‘locations of distinct coherence’’ (Massey. geography. 135) and their shared premise that outward-looking connectivities and translocal ties en- The largely apolitical approach to place construction gender and characterize a progressive politics of place. cepts of place often associated with these ‘purified. original emphasis). this cohort has graphical scales’’y ‘‘the referent here is thus the process formulated a relational conception of place based on of scaling. orderings. represented in Castree’s paper by David of sociospatial structures and scalar orderings. b). it is arguable that localization most recently has AAFN/SFSC scholarship could productively engage been deployed to further a neoliberal form of global with the socio-spatial practices of scale construction to logic. p. p. original emphasis) indigenous peoples movement and assessing their ‘strong’ place claims. dynamic. 5).’ tion from the literature on the ‘‘new politics of scale. 2001. to argue Several recent debates in ‘critical’ human geography that all localism is the handmaiden of neoliberalism. 84. a refashioning of agricultural governance that theorize the contested processes constituting the local plays on both left ideals of political participation and and the dynamic interaction between local forms of right ideals of non-interference in markets (See also socio-spatial organization and translocal actors and Allen et al. reconfiguration or contestation of particular peoples. p. 2002. 1999. naive. at socio-political struggle (Smith. 1994. relational settings’’ (Amin. only by looking at the local as a ‘‘politics in overcoming the neglect of place politics and socio- place’’ is it possible to understand the ways in which spatial processes in agro-food studies and the reification localism is deployed for or against global forces. A recent essay by Castree (2004) examines the ideas of place that ‘‘seem to have become axiomatic for a cohort of critical human 3. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 In the face of these new arguments about global and the ontology of scale.’’ discrete representations. if not myopic. p. 1991. These debates bring out the importance of p. 10) and as ‘‘articulated literature on local food systems curiously has ignored moments in networks’’ (Massey. of the local and localism. idiosyncratic. p. Conclusion: local politics as the new politics of scale geographers’’ (p.’’ These this challenging body of work in human geography. p. Instead. best. Castree (2004) rejects the axiomatic perspective. 2004. 14). 2004. p.. p. of the dangers of an uncritical celebration of ‘local’ lished truism within contemporary human geography’’ (Brenner. emphasize the contingent nature This cohort. Swyngedouw. studies. when ‘‘The proposition that These human geographers are very much aware geographical scale is socially constructed (is) an estab. has worked direct analytical attention to the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in assiduously to discredit bounded or self-enclosed con- these struggles. the local in agro-food studies is which in other arenas has lead to the dismantling of currently taken for granted as a ‘purified’ category and hard-fought government institutional capacities in treated as a context or locale that is conducive to the utility regulation. to enclose tion.M. 386). 600 original emphasis). p. institutions. p. D. Doreen Massey and Michael Watts. resources or knowledges within a ‘local’ differentiations. DuPuis. It would be equally presumptious. and Harvey. p. territories and scales are ‘‘contested social force of this ‘shibboleth’ by drawing on the politics of the global constructions’’ (Herod. in the agro-food literature on the quality ‘turn’ and local This normative position is based on ‘‘the idea that a food systems contrasts vividly with the lively debates on geographical politics that proactively weds agendas in the politics of space and place found in human one place to those in myriad others—what Katz (2001.

which tend to exaggerate she is drawing a distinction based on Harvey’s embrace the autonomy of the local. Mike Goodman paradoxically framing the local as a site of empower- ment (Herod and Wright. political and References cultural contexts. Goodman / Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2005) 359–371 369 place-projects. Toward a deliberative model of democratic political process in which the local and the global make legitimacy. where portions of this equally varied and equally subject to redefinition’’ (Cox. approach (Harvey. economic logics of production. 1999. need to conceptualize the politics of scale as only one 28. 117–129. pp. K. 4–8. 2002. global politics up to now. Ithaca. Learning and adaptation in decen- This paper has cautioned against the reification of the tralized business networks. A... Allen. 1999. 2002. FitzSimmons. concept of a democratic consumption politics and the personal relations. What kind of economic theory for what anomic global capitalism. (Ed. Antipode 33 (2).. An inclusive and reflexive Politics and the State in Rural New York: 1870–1930. and movement in world politics.M. 1996. Amin. A. located exclusively in capitalist production relations.. this critique would be more open. DuPuis. rather than a incisive if it explored the far more extensive literature on fixed set of standards. Spatialities of globalisation. Princeton. vance for research on the quality ‘turn’ and local food Amin. geography. imperfect. for its financial support. Nor- conceptualization of power and its location. 106). In this respect. Democracy and Difference: each other on an everyday basis. Journal of Rural Studies 19 (1). Warner. Environment and Planning D: Society local found in normative and market-oriented perspec.. with different stakes and ideologies’’ Agnew. Goodman. M. 240). vol. In: Seyla. Patricia Allen. Norway. 2003. J.’’ whereas others locate it ‘‘in a range of actors and institutions multiply situated in economic. P. P. Reweaving the food security safety net: mediating (p. and several have raised the specter of about both their own norms and about the structural ‘geographical fetishism’ (Castree. Mapping political power beyond state boundaries: (Leitner. 385–399. 1999). Princeton University open-ended story. M. Cohendet. This emphasis on and Bill Friedland) and its discussions of localism. D. She goes on to suggest that ‘‘we territory. We would like to thank Terry 2002. 499–521. In this more ‘‘realist’’ Contesting the Boundaries of the Political. Shifting projects (See also Cox.. This analytical focus also undermines We would like to acknowledge the Agro-Food Studies reductionist global-local binaries and the tendency to Research Group at UCSC (particularly Julie Guthman. The paper also benefited greatly from the comments of contested socio-spatial processes draws on the wider participants in the Local Development Strategies in point that ‘‘Interests are constituted at many different Food Supply Chains at the XI World Congress of Rural scales and contest scale divisions of labor that are Sociology. tives and their naturalization as a bulwark against Amin. The Moral Frameworks of Public Life: Gender. The relevance of the NPS for explorations of power and politics in local food systems lies in the centrality it Acknowledgements gives to social struggle and contestation in the making of place and scale. However. 1991. 1993. conversation allows us to abandon the ‘‘either-or’’ Antipode Special Issue. p. and Space 17. Thrift. identity. actors are allowed to be reflexive Press. 2000). 2004. N. the preceding discussion has demonstrated their rele. B. Watts. S. A. P.. 147–227.. Cornell University Press. Thus some constructivist studies of scale ‘‘conceptualize power as way. p.. How to make localism an agro-food studies. ‘‘standards’’ organic. b).. not as local ‘‘resistance’’ against a global capitalist Belasco. when discussing differences in the NPS literature on the and the Center for Rural Research. Agriculture and Human Values power relations associated with distinct socio-spatial 16 (2). 2002).. As we have seen the pitfalls of a ‘‘utopia of process’’ rather than a ‘‘traditional’’ of ‘defensive localism’ also have been well-rehearsed in standards utopian vision. 2004. . 2001) that has characterized local– Baker. Oxford politics in place would understand local food systems University Press. paper were first presented. Bringing politics into the kind of economic geography? Antipode 32 (1). is one of the major challenges the place-making and spatial politics in critical human alternative food systems movement faces today. on the Food Industry. 1998a. Debating economic geography: (More Than) responses to Amin and Thrift. 237) in order to grasp the different spatialities and entitlement and entrepreneurship.. Trondheim.).. Trondheim. Environment and Planning A 34 (3). P. 1999. dimension of a broader notion of spatial politics’’ Allen. ARTICLE IN PRESS E. Millenium.. systems. we find strong parallels between our with its emphasis on localized knowledge and inter. process-based vision (Young. W. Here socio-spatial embeddedness. concede the global as the domain of capital while Margaret Fitzsimmons. Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture took ‘‘logic’’ but as a mutually constitutive. New York. Similarly. Amin and Cohendet (1999) have democratic production politics articulated in Guthman’s warned against ‘spatial fetishization’ in accounts of (2004) vision of ‘‘process’’ vs. These debates in plates in the agrifood landscape: the tectonics of alternative human geography are active and ongoing but hopefully agrifood initiatives in California. Benhabib. Leitner (2004) makes a related observation Marsden who initiated the invitation to that conference. 61–75. 2001. in the ‘new’ industrial geography literature. 87–104.

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