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Just Values or Just Value? Remaking the Local in Agro-Food Studies

Between the Local and the Global

ISBN: 978-0-76231-317-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-417-1

ISSN: 1057-1922

Publication date: 19 September 2006


In this chapter, the authors take a close look at the current discourse of food system relocalization. From the perspective of theories of justice and theories of neoliberalism, food relocalization is wrapped up in a problematic, and largely unexamined, communitarian discourse on social justice. The example for California's localized governance of pesticide drift demonstrates that localization can effectively make social justice problems invisible. The authors also look at the EU context, where a different form of localization discourse emphasizes the local capture of rents in the value chain as a neoliberal strategy of territorial valorization. Examining Marsden et al.'s case study of one of these localization projects in the UK, the authors argue that this strategy does not necessarily lead to more equitable forms of rural development. In fact, US and EU discourses are basically two sides of the same coin. Specifically, in neoliberal biopolitical form, they both obscure politics, behind either the discourse of “value” in the EU or “values” in the US. Rather than rejecting localism, however, the authors conclude by arguing for a more “reflexive” localism that harnesses the power of this strategy while consciously struggling against inequality in local arenas.


Melanie DuPuis, E., Goodman, D. and Harrison, J. (2006), "Just Values or Just Value? Remaking the Local in Agro-Food Studies", Marsden, T. and Jonathan Murdoch†, J. (Ed.) Between the Local and the Global (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 241-268.



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