Doctoral thesis
Open access

Collective Action for Tomorrow’s Food System: An Analysis of Civil Society’s Engagement and Farmers’ Resistance in Switzerland

DirectorsGiugni, Marco
Imprimatur date2022-10-06
Defense date2022-09-22

Finding solutions for a more sustainable, just, and healthy food system is one of the major challenges facing modern-day society. While consensus is growing that food system change is needed, little agreement exists on how this change should be achieved. Civil society organizations represent an important locus for food system change because of their potential to unite citizens/consumers, food workers, and farmers around shared norms and values and to motivate the various parties to work toward a common good. The questions posed in this dissertation are the following: How do Swiss civil society organizations contribute to food system change? How do such organizations articulate their goals and their actions? To answer these questions, I (co-) wrote four scientific articles constituting this thesis. I conducted quantitative and qualitative fieldwork in three separate data collection processes which allowed to analyze a variety of different types of organizations, their actions, and their objectives. I find that more organizations concentrate on specific goals which focus on incremental change within the existing food system rather than broad systemic change and that contentious and institutional actions are less common than prefigurative politics/direct social action and raising awareness. My research contributes to the research on food system change firstly, through combining fieldwork and the literature on AFOs and the traditional farming milieu; Secondly, I highlight the importance of alliances and coalitions among diverse actors; and, thirdly, my research underlines the importance of promoting systemic change and addressing systemic lock-ins.

  • Food system change
  • Alternative food organizations
  • Swiss agriculture
  • Access to land
  • Pesticides
  • Social movement theory
Citation (ISO format)
HUBER, Johanna Clara. Collective Action for Tomorrow’s Food System: An Analysis of Civil Society’s Engagement and Farmers’ Resistance in Switzerland. 2022. doi: 10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:165759
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Technical informations

Creation12/11/2022 1:15:00 PM
First validation12/11/2022 1:15:00 PM
Update time03/16/2023 10:14:20 AM
Status update03/16/2023 10:14:19 AM
Last indexation05/06/2024 3:03:39 PM
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