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Agroecology to Promote Just Sustainability Transitions: : Analysis of a Civil Society Network in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda

Isgren, Ellinor LU and Ness, Barry LU (2017) In Sustainability 9(8).
Abstract
Agroecology is gaining ground within the debate on how to address systemic social and environmental problems in agriculture. However, it remains marginalized in agricultural research and development plans around the world. This paper analyzes agroecology as a socio-technical niche in Uganda, where its emergence in part can be seen as an unintended consequence of neoliberalist development. The case studied is a civil society network that links farmer groups and non-governmental organizations across different levels. Through the analytical lens of regime dimensions, we find that agroecology is practiced as a smallholder-centric approach that champions collective action, locally appropriate technologies, participatory methods in research and... (More)
Agroecology is gaining ground within the debate on how to address systemic social and environmental problems in agriculture. However, it remains marginalized in agricultural research and development plans around the world. This paper analyzes agroecology as a socio-technical niche in Uganda, where its emergence in part can be seen as an unintended consequence of neoliberalist development. The case studied is a civil society network that links farmer groups and non-governmental organizations across different levels. Through the analytical lens of regime dimensions, we find that agroecology is practiced as a smallholder-centric approach that champions collective action, locally appropriate technologies, participatory methods in research and extension, and calls for more active state guidance of agricultural change along specific principles. However, two major concerns are raised; the niche converges with the dominant discourse around commercialization, and policy advocacy is hampered by the apolitical history of NGOs and an increasingly tense political climate. These two areas are critical for agroecology to contribute to just sustainability transitions, and civil society organizations with strong links to smallholder farmers need to be included in the growing scholarly debate both to inform it and to receive guidance from it. Transition frameworks can help facilitate the development of viable institutional designs and explicitly transformative strategies, but we also point towards the need for engagement with theories on civil society collective action and political mobilization. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
agroecology; just transitions; agricultural development; Uganda; civil society; transformative potential
in
Sustainability
volume
9
issue
8
pages
20 pages
publisher
Formas
external identifiers
  • scopus:85026748940
ISSN
2071-1050
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
435bcbe2-df01-48b1-a9d2-136ecc5b94e6
alternative location
http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/9/8/1357
date added to LUP
2017-08-28 13:49:02
date last changed
2018-01-07 12:16:18
@article{435bcbe2-df01-48b1-a9d2-136ecc5b94e6,
  abstract     = {Agroecology is gaining ground within the debate on how to address systemic social and environmental problems in agriculture. However, it remains marginalized in agricultural research and development plans around the world. This paper analyzes agroecology as a socio-technical niche in Uganda, where its emergence in part can be seen as an unintended consequence of neoliberalist development. The case studied is a civil society network that links farmer groups and non-governmental organizations across different levels. Through the analytical lens of regime dimensions, we find that agroecology is practiced as a smallholder-centric approach that champions collective action, locally appropriate technologies, participatory methods in research and extension, and calls for more active state guidance of agricultural change along specific principles. However, two major concerns are raised; the niche converges with the dominant discourse around commercialization, and policy advocacy is hampered by the apolitical history of NGOs and an increasingly tense political climate. These two areas are critical for agroecology to contribute to just sustainability transitions, and civil society organizations with strong links to smallholder farmers need to be included in the growing scholarly debate both to inform it and to receive guidance from it. Transition frameworks can help facilitate the development of viable institutional designs and explicitly transformative strategies, but we also point towards the need for engagement with theories on civil society collective action and political mobilization.},
  author       = {Isgren, Ellinor and Ness, Barry},
  issn         = {2071-1050},
  keyword      = { agroecology; just transitions; agricultural development; Uganda; civil society; transformative potential},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {20},
  publisher    = {Formas},
  series       = {Sustainability},
  title        = {Agroecology to Promote Just Sustainability Transitions: : Analysis of a Civil Society Network in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda},
  volume       = {9},
  year         = {2017},
}