Year 2017, Volume 2, Issue 2

Year : 2017
Volume : 2
Issue : 2
Authors : Hamid EL BILALI, Lorenz PROBST
Abstract : Transitions to sustainable food systems are considered necessary to address sustainability challenges in industrial food systems – but also to achieve food and nutrition security especially in countries of the South. To facilitate such transitions, we need a thorough analytical understanding of change processes in food systems. Different transition frameworks have been suggested in the literature, with the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) on socio-technical transitions being the most prominent. While MLP has proven to be a useful heuristic, earlier studies have identified weak points (e.g. regarding agency, power, landscape factors and institutional innovations) calling for the integration of complementary concepts. This paper proposes a framework for the analysis of sustainability transitions in food systems that integrates elements of the Social Practices Approach, Transition Management, Strategic Niche Management and Innovation Systems. The starting point of the suggested analytical process is to map emerging sustainable food systems along the MLP levels of niche, regime and landscape. To better understand processes of creating and developing initiatives in food systems, our mapping relies on Innovation System approaches (e.g. identifying actors and their networks), Transition Management (e.g. niche stabilization and expansion processes) and Strategic Niche Management (e.g. breakthroughs). As wider transitions require a reconfiguration of relevant regimes, interactions across levels are of particular interest. The Social Practices Approach helps to make niche-regime interactions explicit. Finally, by looking at the impacts and outcomes of change initiatives, we can make statements about the type of transition pathway taken – and whether an initiative has transformative potential or is an incremental adaptation. Further work is needed to refine and test the framework in different contexts.
For citation : El Bilali, H., Probst, L. (2017). Towards an integrated analytical framework to map sustainability transitions in food systems. AGROFOR International Journal, Volume 2. Issue No. 2. pp. 24-32. DOI: 10.7251/AGRENG1702024B
Keywords : Sustainability transitions, Transition framework, Multi-Level Perspective, Food systems, Agriculture
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