Research program

This overarching aim will be pursued through the following interrelated activities. We will:
1. Carry out long-term, in-depth fieldwork in collaboration with farmers and activists, covering all stages of self-certification within their broader relations with consumers and authorities. Building on a short-term fieldwork related to ‘good practices’ of consumer-producer relations in Italy of a previously ESRC funded interdisciplinary project (“Analyses of Food Supply Chains for Risks and Resilience to Food Fraud/Crime”, ES/M003094/1) this study will shed light on innovative practices that challenge contemporary governance related to practices of standardisation and certification;
2. Build an internationally relevant innovative theoretical framework for the understanding of food activism. The project will be interlinked through its Advisory Board with a European network ‘Anthropology and Social Movements’, comprising 8 -14 active scholar across the continent and over 98 members. Linking food activism to a broader concern of how power in societies is organised, this framework will speak to a range of scholars that are part of the network;
3. Produce a range of publications, combining both the fieldwork and the theoretical framework. Reading food activism as a lens for issues of sovereignty and citizenship, the publications will display ethnographic episodes and stories related to the proliferation of self-certifications;
4. Produce a documentary that investigates the concerns of small-scale farmers and the functioning of self-certifications.
5. Organise a series of debate and screening sessions to present and discuss the produced documentary with activists, consumers and policy makers, in cooperation with the organisation ‘Contro-Sguardi’;
6. Organise an international conference that brings together scholars, activists and high-profile policy makers. The conclusions will be summarised in a short policy paper discussed with a coalition of agricultural organisations;
7. Enhance the career of a RA based in Italy, offering the opportunity to participate in a European network of scholars, interact with members of the Advisory Board and contribute to the production of high-quality research outcomes.