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See detailBenefits, challenges, social learning and controversies around Local Food Systems
Reckinger, Rachel UL; Nemes, Gusztav; Lajos, Veronika

Scientific Conference (2019, June 25)

Objectives: Our WG touches upon three main elements among the themes of the conference: (1) innovation, (2) social justice and (3) knowledge production. Innovative local food systems and alternative food ... [more ▼]

Objectives: Our WG touches upon three main elements among the themes of the conference: (1) innovation, (2) social justice and (3) knowledge production. Innovative local food systems and alternative food networks, approached from a collaborative and participatory angle, bring about a cultural shift by associating prosumers through a renewed form of trust, reciprocity and community, thus reinforcing social and ecological justice. At the same time, such heterodox actors in the transition to more sustainable food systems create new forms of knowledge, that are contested, co-constructed and potentially conflictual – along with enabling or disabling policymaking and, often, in dialogue with research. Our main objective is in this topic to start the process of creating an edited special issue of a peer reviewed journal (Sociologia Ruralis, Studies of Agricultural Economics or similar) should raise from this WG. We invite researchers working in the area of (local) food systems, alternative food networks, short food supply chains and related topics (rural tourism, community supported agriculture, etc.). We consider both the benefits and possible conflicts/problems in the connected socio-economic, cultural and environmental processes and welcome theoretical papers and case studies, too. Topic: By welcoming case studies from all geographical areas, in a comparative manner, this Working Group’s aim is to address different understandings and dynamics happening within and around different types of Local Food Systems (LFS). Alternative food networks, local food systems and short food supply chains have long been viewed as a sustainable, green way of raising the value added and creating opportunities for sur/re-vival of rural economy and society. They induce many benefits in terms of environmental impact, cultural exemplification, ethical entrepreneurship, social justice or rural development. Conceptually, LFS can be understood as ‘local food for local people’, as for example in the Slow Food or the community supported agriculture (CSA) movements. They are then associated with low food miles, environmental protection (Jones 2002), enhanced social networks and revitalised local communities (Fenstra 1997). From a local economic development perspective, in particular when LFS produce high quality products, they can equally be considered as ‘local food for non-local people’, either transported to urban centres, or attracting flows of tourists into rural areas. Here LFS can still enhance local businesses, economic and rural development, yet social and environmental benefits (Guthman 2004) of such foodstuffs, marketed with the added value of environmental and social responsibility, are more difficult to trace. Therefore, besides benefits, we would also like to analyse potential dissonances, that the distinction between local or extra-local target groups help to identify – for instance: • established, certified organic producers might criticize non-certified yet organically producing CSAs as fragmenting an already minority market or showing a lack of solidarity by not contributing to organic labels; • when LFS end up producing high quality, expensive products, a dynamic of social exclusion might occur, favoring the wealthy; • enhanced local production, tourism, and visitor pressure can cause social, economic, and environmental degradation, multiplier effects do not always occur to build more businesses and sustain social and economic capital; • innovative alternative food networks tend to struggle with territorial competition over land and resources, but if they rely on external investments, they might additionally be confronted – more insidiously – with the risk of co-option by neoliberal corporate agendas. We welcome analyses focusing on negotiations and struggles among actors in a multifaceted foodscape, where some block and some enhance transitions. Viewing the relationships, interconnectedness and agency of niche innovations, local and non-local appropriations as well regime hegemonies opens up the theoretical perspective of contested knowledge claims. We look for questions and answers including: • How are dynamics of “knowing and growing food in a contested arena” (Goodman, DuPuis, Goodman, 2014) negotiated – sometimes in a mutually enhancing and locally beneficial way, sometimes in more conflictual ways? • What are the local and extra-local stakeholders’ (producers, intermediaries, customers, tourists) different and often conflicting interests and responsibilities in LFS? • What can we learn from the tensions and local problems of LFS in order to support relevant policies to solve current controversies within the sector? • How can rural sociologists use their knowledge and influence to support local rural stakeholders of LFS? [less ▲]

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See detailNetworks and Governance of Local Food Systems. The case of Food Policy Councils
Reckinger, Rachel UL

Scientific Conference (2019, June 06)

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See detailWege zur Ernährungsdemokratie. Rückblick auf den 2. Vernetzungskongress der Ernährungsräte in Frankfurt.
Reckinger, Rachel UL; Schneider, Norry

Article for general public (2019)

Face à la mondialisation et l’intégration verticale des maillons de la chaîne alimentaire aux mains des géants multinationaux de l’industrie agroalimentaire, des initiatives alternatives se développent ... [more ▼]

Face à la mondialisation et l’intégration verticale des maillons de la chaîne alimentaire aux mains des géants multinationaux de l’industrie agroalimentaire, des initiatives alternatives se développent pour relocaliser et transformer la gouvernance de nos systèmes alimentaires. Au cœur de ce mouvement, on retrouve l’émergence de Conseils de Politique Alimentaire (en anglais : Food Policy Council). Il s’agit d’organes et de plateformes multi-acteurs qui ont pour objectif d’identifier et de proposer des solutions innovantes et transdisciplinaires en vue d’améliorer les systèmes alimentaires à l’échelle territoriale, en s’assurant qu’ils soient plus durables du point de vue environnemental et plus justes du point de vue social. Le Conseil alimentaire intègre des représentants des différents secteurs tout au long de la chaîne alimentaire (production, transformation, distribution, consommation et recyclage), mais également des acteurs de la gouvernance du système alimentaire (politique, administration, éducation, société civile, recherche). En Allemagne, ces initiatives foisonnent depuis que le premier Cpnseil de politique alimentaire ait été créé en 2016 à Cologne. Le 2ème congrès des initiatives germanophones, à Frankfort fin novembre 2018, a permis une meilleure compréhension de cet instrument participatif de promotion de la souveraineté alimentaire et du droit à l’alimentation et à la nutrition. Si vous voulez en savoir plus, merci de nous contacter : norry@cell.lu et rachel.reckinger@uni.lu [less ▲]

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See detail‘Pas de fraises pour Noël’. Le rôle de la régionalité locavore dans la (re)prise de conscience de la saisonnalité des aliments 
Reckinger, Rachel UL

in Adamiec, Camille; Julien, Marie-Pierre; Régnier, Faustine (Eds.) L’alimentation au fil des saisons. La saisonnalité des pratiques alimentaires (2019)

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See detailThe Metonymical Institutionnalisation of Wine Production and Consumption in Luxembourg. Converging Terroir Typicity for Political Usage and Didactic Normativity.
Reckinger, Rachel UL

in Tedeschi, Paolo (Ed.) The Evolution of the Viticulture and Winemaking in Europe: Production, Retail System, Oenological Techniques, Terroir and Local Culture (19th-20th Centuries) (2019)

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See detailConstructions contestées et contrastées de la notion de terroir. Symbolique Politique, Savoir Scientifique, Typicité Culturale et Culturelle
Reckinger, Rachel UL

in Yengué, Louis; Stengel, Kilien (Eds.) Terroir viticole. Espace et figures de qualité (2019)

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See detailSocial Change for Sustainable Localized Food Sovereignty. Convergence between Prosumers and Ethical Entrepreneurs.
Reckinger, Rachel UL

in Sociologia del Lavoro (2018), 152(4),

Some resourceful community-driven initiatives for local food production and retail have recently appeared in Luxembourg, where low organic agricultural rates are paradoxically paired with high consumer ... [more ▼]

Some resourceful community-driven initiatives for local food production and retail have recently appeared in Luxembourg, where low organic agricultural rates are paradoxically paired with high consumer demands. This niche of social innovators combines agroecology with circular economy practices. Four cases of alternative food networks are presented here – studied with qualitative interviews and participant observation. One was established in the 1980s and has about 200 employees, partly linked to social assistance. The more recent and smaller initiatives are characterised by cooperative governance, a community-supported agricultural outlook, hands-on workshops and time banks, all enabled by social media. These initiatives are more radical in their agro-ecological or permaculture practices, focusing on regenerative land use without relying on imports and fostering the integration of consumers with varying degrees of prosumer involvement. This politicised step goes further than mere (and possibly industrialised) organic production. It represents a cultural shift in the food system by attracting media and policy interest, diverting attention away from individuals and focusing instead on the collective efforts that are necessary to build a more resilient food system. [less ▲]

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See detailSituative Interdisciplinarity: Empirical Reflections on Ten Years of Cross-Disciplinary Research
Reckinger, Rachel UL; Wille, Christian UL

in Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies (2018), 7(3), 9-34

Given the current call for interdisciplinarity, we reflect on pragmatic methodological implementations of collaborative research – by drawing on empirical evidence from two large-scale cross-disciplinary ... [more ▼]

Given the current call for interdisciplinarity, we reflect on pragmatic methodological implementations of collaborative research – by drawing on empirical evidence from two large-scale cross-disciplinary research projects and by theoretically framing them in trilingual contexts (German, French, and English). These are two major innovations compared to the existing body of literature in this domain. Our empirical analysis shows that multi-, inter- or trans-disciplinary collaboration is an oscillating process along a spectrum of cross-disciplinarity – spanning additive, converging and synthesizing work patterns, i.e. multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinarity. Such an umbrella-term avoids the common amalgamation of ‘interdisciplinarity’ as the overarching category (cross-disciplinarity of whatever form) and one of the relevant subcategories (the specific work form that a research team chooses). Concretely, if the majority of methods are developed through communal negotiation processes, then a truly interdisciplinary analysis of research results can only be guaranteed through recursive self-reflexive loops. Initial research questions may still be additive and interactions can oscillate during the project process between addition und tentative convergence. We label this process situative interdisciplinarity. Multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity are thus subsumed as a processual entity: flexible, possibly hybrid subforms of cross-disciplinarity. It needs constant reactivation, framing, timing and mediation by project managers. The major challenge lies in the collaborative transfer of concepts, theories, methods and research subjects. This transfer requires translation, explication and transposition of the various disciplinary ‘languages’ and can only be converged in an open-minded, team-oriented and reflexive work environment. [less ▲]

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See detailAlternative Food Networks in Luxembourg
Reckinger, Rachel UL

Speeches/Talks (2018)

Dr. Rachel Reckinger is a food sociologist and anthropologist at the University of Luxembourg. She is the principal investigator of Sustainable Food Practices, spanning Luxembourg’s foodscape from ... [more ▼]

Dr. Rachel Reckinger is a food sociologist and anthropologist at the University of Luxembourg. She is the principal investigator of Sustainable Food Practices, spanning Luxembourg’s foodscape from production, governance, distribution to consumption. Her research focuses on policy gaps and changes of everyday practices within the transition towards a more circular economy (https://food.uni.lu). During this lunch debate, she will critically discuss a few emerging alternative food networks in Luxembourg: currently still a heterodox minority, they contribute to a cultural shift with the creation of resourcefulness for biodiversity, environmental and social justice. [less ▲]

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See detailContested Claims for Social and Environmental Justice. Ambivalences between Mundane and Deliberate Consumption in Alternative Food Networks
Reckinger, Rachel UL

Scientific Conference (2018, August 30)

Recently, a number of resourceful community-driven initiatives for local food production and retail have arisen in Luxembourg, where low organic agricultural rates are paired with high consumer demands ... [more ▼]

Recently, a number of resourceful community-driven initiatives for local food production and retail have arisen in Luxembourg, where low organic agricultural rates are paired with high consumer demands for organic produce. The main impact that heterodox actors can have seems to be the creation of resourcefulness from innovative niches, not designed to be upscaled but spread by ubiquitous networking. The motivations of actors involved in such social movements, albeit diverse, tend to stem from a stance of care and ethical (self)government, often using community self-organisation-tools. Based on qualitative interviews and participant observation, we expand on four case studies of fruit and vegetable production as well as unpackaged and socially responsible food retail in Luxembourg. One has been established since the 1980s with over 200 employees, partly in social insertion measures, producing and importing organic fruit and vegetables. Since 2014, three significantly smaller initiatives with higher citizen involvement have emerged. These recent initiatives are more radical in their agro-ecological and/or permaculture practices, proposing a political enacting of circular economy precepts. Yet, daily practices stay embedded in social, cultural and economic constraints and in routines, which are built on tacit knowledge, collective learning and engrained practices; even though repetitive, they can account for both reproduction and innovation. By analysing ethical entrepreneurship and the governmentality at its core as well as ambivalences and paradoxes between mundane and deliberate forms of consumption, this paper touches on interrelations between food policies and the politics of contested claims for, and practices of, social and environmental justice. [less ▲]

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See detailAlternative Actors in the Foodscape: Enabling Policies and Politics of Contested Claims for Social and Environmental Justice
Reckinger, Rachel UL

Scientific Conference (2018, June 07)

Recently, a number of resourceful community-driven initiatives for local food production and retail have arisen in Luxembourg, where low organic agricultural rates are paired with high consumer demands ... [more ▼]

Recently, a number of resourceful community-driven initiatives for local food production and retail have arisen in Luxembourg, where low organic agricultural rates are paired with high consumer demands for organic produce, leading to a largely imported organic market. As an encompassing reaction, a niche of social innovators are combining agro-ecological land use and food production with locavorousness and circular economy. Based on qualitative interviews and participant observation, we expand on four case studies of fruit and vegetable production as well as unpackaged and/or socially responsible food retail in today’s Luxembourg. One has been established since the 1980s with over 200 employees, partly in social insertion measures, producing and importing organic fruit and vegetables. Since 2014, three significantly smaller initiatives with higher citizen involvement have emerged, with a cooperative governance structure, a claimed community-supported agricultural outlook, a dynamic presence on social media and regular hands-on workshops and activities. These recent initiatives are more radical in their agro-ecological and/or permaculture practices. In a renewed enacting of circular economy precepts, they focus on local production without relying on imports, as a politicized step further than (possibly industrialized) organic production. Grounded in heterodox experiences of alternative actors in food production and retail niches, we analyse ethical entrepreneurship and the governmentality at its core, political enabling or disabling structures and regulations, as well as commodification and upscaling issues. Therefore, this paper touches on governance interrelations between food policies and politics the politics of contested claims for, and practices of, social and environmental justice. [less ▲]

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See detailFoodscapes in Transition: Policies and Politics Advancing Sustainable Development and Social Justice
Reckinger, Rachel UL; Wahlen, Stefan

Scientific Conference (2018, June 07)

In this session, we would like to discuss the impact, risks and motivations of producers and consumers altering foodscapes. Of particular interest are enabling types of governance that improve ecological ... [more ▼]

In this session, we would like to discuss the impact, risks and motivations of producers and consumers altering foodscapes. Of particular interest are enabling types of governance that improve ecological balance and social justice in policies of governmental regulation and institutions but also in the politics of for example alternative food movements. The main impact that heterodox actors can have seems to be, on one hand, the creation of resourcefulness from innovative niches, not designed to be upscaled but spread by ubiquitous networking and, on the other hand, the exemplification of heterodox economic practices that reduce the current deskilling of producers and consumers and the depletion of natural resources. The risk associated with heterodox initiatives is, besides basic economic viability, territorial competition over land and resources, as well as – more insidiously – the potential of co-option by neoliberal corporate agendas. The motivations of actors involved in such social movements, albeit diverse, tend to stem from a stance of care and ethical (self)government, often using community self-organisation-tools. Such an analysis of food value chain practices focuses on negotiations and struggles among actors in a multifaceted foodscape, where some block and some enhance transitions. Viewing the relationships, interconnectedness and agency of niche innovations and regime hegemonies opens up the perspective of contested knowledge claims. Additionally, the ways in which actors in the regulatory field advance transitions by policy measures and initiatives need to be considered, and in particular the processes of politicization as interdependencies between movement actors and the public sphere. Yet, the daily practices stay embedded in social, cultural and economic constraints and in routines, which are built on tacit knowledge, collective learning and engrained practices; even though repetitive, they can account for both reproduction and innovation. Which types of governance at all levels have shown themselves to be effective in supporting and empowering such bottom-up changes in “knowing and growing food in a contested arena” (Goodman, DuPuis, Goodman, 2014)? [less ▲]

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See detailAlternative Paths Towards Sustainable Localized Food Sovereignty. Convergence between Prosumers and Ethical Entrepreneurs over Time
Reckinger, Rachel UL

Scientific Conference (2017, November 14)

Recently, a number of resourceful community-driven initiatives for local food production and retail have arisen in Luxembourg, in a context of particularly low organic agricultural rates paradoxically ... [more ▼]

Recently, a number of resourceful community-driven initiatives for local food production and retail have arisen in Luxembourg, in a context of particularly low organic agricultural rates paradoxically paired with high consumer demands for organic produce, leading to a specific market of largely imported organic goods. As an encompassing reaction to this situation, a niche of social innovators are combining agro-ecological land use and food production with locavoracity and circular economy. Based on qualitative in-depth interviews and participant observation, we would like to expand on four micro-case studies of circular-economy-type fruit and vegetable production as well as unpackaged and/or socially responsible food retail in today’s Luxembourg. One has been established since the 1980s with over 150 employees, partly in social insertion measures, producing and importing organic fruits and vegetables, delivered via a classical box scheme system. Additionally, over the last three years three significantly smaller initiatives with higher citizen and/or community involvement have emerged. They are characterized by a cooperative governance structure, a claimed community-supported agricultural outlook, a more dynamic presence on social media and regular hands-on workshops and activities. These more recent initiatives are also more radical in their agro-ecological and/or permaculture practices, focusing on local production without relying on imports, as a politicized step further than mere (possibly industrialized) organic production, which is an altogether renewed enacting of circular economy precepts. Yet their position on the market is for the moment more fragile and marginal. Particularly, the retailers among them have to build creative consensus – according to specific priorities and stances – between their standards and the adjustment to consumers who, albeit sensitized, are in search for a certain variety and convenience. By focusing on heterodox experiences of more or less established alternative actors in diverse yet complementary food production and retail niches, we will explore topics such as emotional collective commitment and consensus-building, ethical entrepreneurship in relation to possibly reframed standards over time, governmentality, political enabling or disabling structures and regulations, as well as commodification and upscaling issues. Therefore, this paper touches on political processes and strategies, urban agro-ecological practices as well as post-capitalist economics. [less ▲]

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See detailDiet and Public Health Campaigns: Implementation and Appropriation of Nutritional Recommendations in France and Luxembourg
Reckinger, Rachel UL; Régnier, Faustine

Scientific Conference (2017, August 30)

Based on two surveys – a French and a Luxembourgish one – with in-depth-interviews, this paper examines the implementation of nutritional recommendations in two European countries. Each of them has ... [more ▼]

Based on two surveys – a French and a Luxembourgish one – with in-depth-interviews, this paper examines the implementation of nutritional recommendations in two European countries. Each of them has promoted at governmental level a public health campaign regarding food consumption and daily diet. In which way – and by which social categories – are the recommendations taken in and put into practice, and if so, which appropriation processes and interpretations occur? Do the social, societal and cultural differences between Luxembourg and France, in terms of standard of living and dissemination of norms account for differentiated appropriations of dietary incentives? We will first compare the overarching goals as well as the dietary norms these two programs promote, in terms of similarities versus particularities both of the recommendations’ content and of the way they are communicated. We will then examine the perception of these norms. The comparison France / Luxembourg shows that socio-cultural logics override national ones: the way in which individuals perceive the recommendations and appropriate them reflect more the social affiliation than the national one; gender and the events of the life cycle, particularly parentality, are also relevant to the reception of dietary recommendations. Transversal to all social milieus and in both national contexts, interviewees operate a selective internalisation of the perceived recommendations in a proactive yet pragmatic posture of personal responsibility. Ultimately, public dietary recommendations are only appropriated if they match people’s daily priorities and constraints, as well as the general cultural values of their social milieu. This allows us to conclude to transnational, transversal, plural and distinctive everyday-cultural models of food consumption and differing notions of a “proper” diet. [less ▲]

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See detailGender and Food
Reckinger, Rachel UL

Presentation (2017, June 27)

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