Participate: Knowledge from the margins for post-2015
The objective of this research is to improve the prospects for accountability for food security at a time of volatility. This will be achieved through an exploration of the proposition that recent popular mobilisation around food has activated public accountability for hunger.
The research aims to study the causes, i.e. grievances and opportunities of food riots and right-to-food movements, as well as their effects in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Mozambique, during the recent period offood price volatility from 2007 to 2012. It will specifically look into how governments respond and whether their response institutionalises accountability.
The need to strengthen accountability for food insecurity has become more pressing since the 2008 food price spike. Feeding the world in this context is a political challenge - how to institutionalise accountabilityand responsiveness towards the hungry - as much as a technical or economic one. With predictions of further volatility and price rises, this challenge is increasingly urgent.
The period since the mid 2000s offers an opportunity to study the popular politics of accountability for hunger, because of the not coincidental rise in the level of popular mobilisation around food globally.The right-to-food movements that emerged in developing countries since the mid 2000s and the upsurge in food riots and protests since 2007 both signal strong popular pressures for a response to the increasing uncertainties people face around access to food. Yet we have sketchy information about who mobilises, why and what they seek to change.
This research project will study grievances around recent food price volatility, including the possibility that policy makers systematically under-estimated these, particularly the unmeasured impacts on well-being and women's unpaid work in the care economy.
The research moves beyond assuming that people protest because they are hungry, to explore whether contemporary struggles are informed by popular ideologies prioritising rights to food over the freedom of markets in times of dearth. 'Moral economies' of this kind have been found in historical analogues to the present period of crisis and adjustment, and were often potent enough to elicit protective responses from political elites.
The research will explore whether analogous 'moral economies' feature in the present. It will also explore what globalisation means for the moral economy: the contemporary food policy regime features global integration, commodity speculation and pressures to liberalise trade, which both increase the likelihood of shocks (and protests), and constrain government responses. The research will investigate the effects of popular food politics in this more globalised context, particularly whether popular mobilisation results incounter-productive protectionist policies.
Finally, the research will explore the institutional and policy conditions under which the different forms of popular mobilisation - food riots or right-to-food movements - succeed in activating responses which institutionalise accountability and responsiveness for food security, particularly for women.
It will look at the effects of how directly the food crisis is transmitted to the country context; pre-existing social protection provision; the strength and orientation of civil society; the political history of famine prevention; and the interaction and mutual influence of riots and rights movements.
The research aims for impacts on policy and practice by generating policy-relevant knowledge of the determinants of the political will to act to address food insecurity and by creating new, more inclusive spaces in which civil society actors can engage with policy makers in dialogue about the right to food.
The project will work with partners in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Mozambique to undertake research.
The project is funded through the ESRC-DFID Joint Research Programme on International Development.
- 030 2516441
- Dee Jupp
- Andrea Rigon
- Neva Frecheville
- Clive Robertson
- Jackie Shaw
- Project Dates:
- October 2012 - Ongoing
- Project Status:
- Department for International Development (DFID)
- Research Themes / Programmes:
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Post 2015 Agenda
The Participate blog aims to champion participatory research and share the many innovative ways in which the Participate initiative is trying to bring knowledge from the margins into the post-2015 debates. It is written by members of the Participate team, the Participatory Research Group, and other experts.
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