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Title: Discursive framings, normative preferences and the reception of global standards : the case of the regulation of South Indian animal food farming
Author: Nava Fischer, Evelyn
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 8618
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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When talking about the importance of the agri-food production environment and the application of food safety and sanitary measures in it, a list of growing unfortunate related events come to mind such as: the rise of diseases coming from farming production, the rocketing of environmental degradation and overexploitation of genetic farmed pools, the economically important agri-food scares and overall, the opacity of agri-food production and regulation. This thesis examines the divergence between legal measures and legal application of global agri-food standards as a legitimacy crisis and has a twofold aim. First it aims to illustrate the role that regulatory legitimacy plays in effective compliance by studying the construction of regulatory legitimacy as a discursive practice. Second, and as a result of this the thesis asks how South Indian animal farming systems and international safety and sanitary measures construct their environmental normative legitimacy and introduce some implications for the animal farming/public health international debate. In this social constructivist approach, the thesis applies a combination of environmental discourse and framing analysis –discursive framings- to empirically study the construction of (non) formally binding norms in agri-food environments. These ´discursive framings´ it is argued, help represent the architectures of green compliance embedded in agro-environmental narratives, uncovered through the uses of language. In this way, framings help detect a variety of forms of (non) endorsement of safety and sanitary measures by regulatory stakeholders and with it, their role in ´racing standards to the top or to the bottom´ in agri-food regulation. An exploratory study comparing documents about safety and sanitary measures (believed to reinforce levels of safety and sanitary compliance in trade conflicts) in international dispute resolutions and interviews of key stakeholders in the field (believed to reflect safety and sanitary compliance in animal farming practice) in South India are conducted. The comparison of expected compliance between dispute formal documents and transcripts of actors under potential regulation provides insight into the discursive constitutions of legal and social safety and sanitary standards. It also informs on a number of counterproductive effects (cooptation, substitution or dilution of regulatory measures) when poor translation of normative preferences from global sanitary provisions of market access into the subnational agri-food environment begins to take place. The thesis empirically demonstrates how present public understandings of WTO-SPS Agreements in India have the potential to induce existent food safety and sanitary compliance into a race to the bottom increasing diseases from farmed animals in this country: given the consistent constellation of discursive voids that have left scientific knowledge out of agro-ecological and animal health present concerns, subnationally and internationally. The conceptual framework, the primary and secondary data and the analyses account for this complexity, namely, the convergences and voids left among discursive constellations of green compliance and their roles in existing models of agri-food regulation. Finally, the thesis presents the contributions to the study of Dryzek´s environmental discourses that a constructivist research like this can make to the study of legitimacy crises and efficacious regulation in general and between international market access, public health and the ago-environment in India (the case studied here) in particular.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: K Law (General)