From Neoliberalism to National Developmentalism? Contested Agrarian Imaginaries of a Post-Neoliberal Future for Food and Farming

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Abstract

This review examines three recent books that address the relationship between neoliberalism and agribusiness, on the one hand, and the demise of smallholder farming, traditional diets and the rise of diet-related chronic illness, on the other. The first, by Timothy Wise, adopts what may be characterized as an ‘agrarian populist’ stance, constructing a universal binary between trans-nationalizing agribusiness and a unified family farm sector. Protagonists from the latter are seen to embody the future, using agroecology to feed the world sustainably in a time of climate crisis. This is not a consistently propeasant stance, however; Wise seems rather to advocate a ‘farmer road’ to national capitalist development. The other two books, by Alyshia Galvez and Gerardo Otero, cover quite similar ground to one another, looking explicitly at the rise of neoliberalism, the decline of traditional farming and diets and the rise of processed food-related diseases. Unlike ‘agrarian populists’, both authors privilege the state and ‘class struggle’ (sensu lato) in analysing the dynamics of neoliberalism, free trade agreements and food policies. Normatively, both see the state as pivotal in generating policies centred around smaller scale farming and the production of nutritious food for all. For Otero, like Wise, these policies seem to be tied to a form of national developmentalism as an escape route from neoliberalism. For Galvez, the future is less clear-cut—although by inclination ‘propeasant’, she does not exclude elements of national developmentalism in envisioning a postneoliberal world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Agrarian Change
Volume(In-Press)
Early online date13 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • agroecology
  • food sovereignty
  • livelihood sovereignty
  • national developmentalism
  • neoliberalism
  • post-neoliberal imaginaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology

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