The Peasant Activism Project: an ethnographic study

The Peasant Activism Project (2016-2018) is a major ethnographic study of neo-rural activism in Italy financed by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC), UK, hosted by Queen’s University Belfast and carried out in cooperation with University of Perugia, Italy. The project investigates innovative political activism related to grassroot attempts to re-appropriate the right to certify food.

The vulnerability of small-scale farmers

Small-scale farmers and neo-rural activists are particularly vulnerable in front of an increasingly invasive neoliberal ‘governance of transparency’. Many of those who pursue sustainable lifestyles and produce quality food often find themselves in difficulties with tightening regulations regarding food safety and the technocratic demands in relation to the certification of standards, considered by many as favoring large industrial productions.

Towards innovations

The core innovation of our study derives from the attempt to shed light on the emerging diffusion of alternative and more democratic ‘participatory self-certifications’ of food products in Italy through a theoretical lens that combines anthropological writing on food activism with critical studies of policy. This will allow a renewed ‘political understanding’ of food activism, an understanding in relation to broader issues of governance, sovereignty and citizenship, rather than in relation to questions of identity and culture.

"Investigating innovative political activism that attempts to re-appropriate the right to certify food"


Program – 2nd “Political Imagination Laboratory”

We are pleased to announce the second edition of our “Political Imagination Laboratory”. The second edition of the Political Imagination Laboratory brings together anthropologists, social scientists, filmmakers and activists from around the world and will alternate paper presentations with film screenings, roundtable discussions, and work-in-progress visual expositions.
The completed program can be accessed here.

Event: Kratovo Film Festival (Macedonia) – Documentary Screening and Debate Session

Kratovo Film Festival (Macedonia)
6 – 10 October 2017 – Documentary Screening and Debate Event

We are pleased to announce a screening and debate session of our documentary “An Experimental Path” at the Kratovo Film Festival 2017 in Macedonia, an exciting opportunity to engange in discussions on peasant activism in Europe. Here further information on the Kratovo Film Festival in Macedonia and the documentary trailer.

CALL FOR PAPERS AND VISUAL PROJECTS (now closed): 2nd Political Imagination Laboratory


DEADLINE: Wednesday 30 August 2017

The “Peasant Activism Project” in cooperation with the network “Anthropology and Social Movements” of the European Association of Social Movements (EASA), promotes the second meeting of the POLITICAL IMAGINATION LABORATORY: Visualizing and Investigating the Imagination of Contemporary Activism.

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Event: Belfast Film Festival Documentary Screening

Belfast Film Festival (Northern Ireland)
Queen’s Film Theatre, 4pm – Thursday 6th April 2017 – Documentary Screening and Debate Event

We are pleased to announce a screening and debate session of our documentary “An Experimental Path” at the Belfast Film Festival 2017, organized in cooperation with Cooperative Alternatives Northern Ireland and the Centre for Documentary Research (Queen’s University)

First impressions from our work

Project hosted by

School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics (HAPP) , Queen’s University Belfast

Financed by
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK

In collaboration with
Dipartimento di Filosofia, Scienze Sociali, Umane e della Formazione, Università degli Studi di Perugia

International research network “Anthropology and Social Movements”, European Association of Social Anthropology (EASA)

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This is the official website of the project: ‘The Right to Certify? Mobilizing for the Self-Certification of Food’ (Project code ES/M011291/1)