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Title: Energy scarcity and food security : strategies for transition to resilient food system governance
Author: Foord, Wayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 0092
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis addresses the impacts of emerging energy scarcity on food security, and explores strategies for transition to a sustainable food system. The core research questions focus on the transition movement, its political strategy, and proposals for food sustainability. Contextual questions include: What post-peak oil scenarios are plausible/implausible given current evidence regarding global oil production, and available energy alternatives? Do any current trends indicate the unfolding of one scenario, in particular? And how might this scenario impact on food security, and what are the implications for transition movement strategy? Evidence is presented that global oil production has already ‘plateaued’, and the most likely scenarios for industrial societies now lie on a continuum between forced, gradual energy descent and rapid collapse. Emerging trends indicate that energy scarcity is associated with the evolution of a post-liberal order, as anticipated by some contributors to the ‘politics of scarcity’ debate in the 1970’s. These trends are also manifesting within the global food system, in the form of ‘land-grabbing’ and widespread imposition of GM-based industrial agriculture. In light of imminent forced energy descent, emerging global trends, and learning from the Cuban Special Period, it is argued that both green political theory and transition movement strategy should focus on the contested politics of transition, in conjunction with a prospective politics that steers transition towards a new societal equilibrium. A diverse, adaptive repertoire of political strategies is proposed, including: solutions-based activism; oppositional activism; insurgent citizenship; transformative engagement with local government; and ‘de-linking’ initiatives. Scaling up of local Transition initiatives should include: promotion of regional solidarity networks between urban centres; regional food system planning; and alliance-building with other counter-hegemonic social movements. It is further proposed that a ‘food sovereignty’ framing is adopted, and that scaled up, farm sector agroecology is promoted, to complement existing permaculture and organic approaches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available