Contested Sustainability Discourses in the Agrifood System: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Contested Sustainability Discourses in the Agrifood System

1st Edition

Edited by Douglas H. Constance, Jason T. Konefal, Maki Hatanaka


314 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138063099
pub: 2018-07-03
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315161297
pub: 2018-06-27
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The industrial agrifood system is in crisis regarding its negative ecological, economic, and social externalities: it is unsustainable on all dimensions. This book documents and engages competing visions and contested discourses of agrifood sustainability. 

Using an incremental/reformist to transformation/radical continuum framework for alternative agrifood movements, this book identifies tensions between competing discourses that stress food sovereignty, social justice, and fair trade and those that emphasize food security, efficiency and free trade. In particular, it highlights the role that governance processes play in sustainability transitions and the ways that power and politics affect sustainability visions and discourses.  

The book includes chapters that review sustainability discourses at the macro and meso levels, as well as case studies from Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, South America and the USA.

Table of Contents

PART I: Introduction

1. Contested Sustainability Discourses in the Agrifood System: An Overview

Douglas H. Constance

PART II: Framing the Contested Discourse 

2. Sustainable Intensification: Agroecological Appropriation or Contestation?

Les Levidow

3. Sustainable Intensification as a Sociotechnical Imaginary

Paul B. Thompson

4. Agrifood Discourses and Feeding the World: Unpacking Sustainable Intensification

Douglas H. Constance and Athena Moseley

5. Sustainability as the Civil Commons: Laying the Groundwork for Sustainable Agriculture

Jennifer Sumner

Part III: Contested Discourses in Theory and Practice

6. Zero Hunger Discourse: Neoliberal, Progressive, Reformist or Radical?  

Kiah Smith

7. Greenwashing the Animal-industrial Complex: Sustainable Intensification and the Livestock Revolution

Livia Boscardin

8. Are Food Quality Schemes an Alternative to the Conventional Food System? Reflections on the EU Metaphors on Agrifood Quality Regulation 

Josep Espluga-Trenc, Marina Di Masso, and Marta G. Rivera-Ferre and Arantxa Capdevila

9. Discourses on Sustainability in the French Farming Sector: The Redefinition of a Consensual and Knowledge-intensive "Agroecology"  

Jessica Thomas

10. Dueling Discourses of Sustainability: Neo-Conventional and Organic Farming on the Canadian Prairies

Michael Gertler, JoAnn Jaffe, and Mary Beckie

11. Contested Sustainability Discourses as Lived Experience: Conflicted Feelings Towards Meat in Consumers’ Narratives and Life Stories

Robert M. Chiles

Part IV: Contested Agrifood Governance

12. Shifting Visions of Sustainability in the United States Agriculture: A Case Study of the Role of Multi-Stakeholder Governance

Jason Konefal and Maki Hatanaka

13. Understanding the Challenge of Problem Definition in Multistakeholder Initiatives: Lessons from Sustainability Policy Frames in Canadian Non-State Food Strategies

Margaret Bancerz

14. Standardizing "Unused" Land: The Politics of Indicators in Land Classification  

Daniel Bornstein

15. Justifying the Standardization of Sustainability Impact  

Allison Marie Loconto

Part V: Conclusion

16. Fault Lines in Sustainability: Contestation, Cooptation, Reform, and Transformation

Jason Konefal

About the Editors

Douglas H. Constance is Professor of Sociology at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA.

Jason T. Konefal is Associate Professor of Sociology, at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA.

Maki Hatanaka is Associate Professor of Sociology at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA.

About the Series

Earthscan Food and Agriculture

Earthscan Food and Agriculture
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to food and agriculture, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Rural