Convention Theory in the Anglophone Agro-food Literature: Past, Present and Future

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    Abstract

    In the past two decades, convention theory has been applied in various branches of agro-food studies, providing analytical and theoretical insight for examining alternative food networks, coordination and governance in agro-food value chains, and the so-called 'quality turn' in food production and consumption. In this article, I examine convention theory applications in the Anglophone literature on agro-food studies through the review of 51 relevant contributions. I highlight how CT has helped explain different modes of organization and coordination of agro-food operations in different places, and how it has provided new venues of approaching quality - in view of understanding how exchange of agro-food products takes place and with what social and power dynamics. I trace two main analytical streams of this literature: one focussing on agro-food adaptations of the 'worlds of production' framework (Salais and Storper, 1992; Storper and Salais, 1997); and another applying the 'orders of worth' approach of Boltanski and Thevenot (1991[2006]) and further elaborations of 'quality conventions'. After tracing broad trajectories and the significance of new developments in this literature, I highlight its current limitations and suggest some directions for future research
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Rural Studies
    Volume44
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)12-23
    Number of pages12
    ISSN0743-0167
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

    Keywords

    • Agro-food studies
    • Convention theory
    • Literature review

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