Valuing different perspectives on power in the food system

Valuing different perspectives on power in the food system

In this introductory article, we highlight debates that emerged in the IDS–IPES-Food workshop on the political economy of food as a way of introducing the articles that follow. In exploring how different groups view power in food systems, we conceptualise a ‘mainstream’ narrative emerging from embedded agricultural and economic thinkers and practitioners, and contrast this with a multiplicity of reactions to and critiques of that narrative. In aiming to understand power in the food system, we recognise that there are many different disciplinary, epistemological, and ideological entry points into the study of power, and that seeking a single approach will likely limit the insights that different disciplines and research orientations can bring to the study of food systems. We argue that we must first better understand power at its different levels, forms, and spaces, and then use this understanding in order to transform food systems via equitable processes which work towards the interests of all.