Virginie Amilien & Unni Kjaernes (2017)
British Food Journal, 119(4), p. 952-966
Purpose: This paper is based on three social scientific studies of animal welfare and local food products in Norway, of which two focused on sheep in particular. It addresses the widespread belief that Norwegian sheep farming is “the best” but is confronted with a meat industry that emphasises economic efficiency. A few years after a new Norwegian law on animal welfare acknowledged animals as sentient beings came into force in 2010 (LOVdata, 2009), the purpose of this paper is to better understand ongoing debates on the welfare of sheep by exploring how sheep welfare is understood and regulated in Norway.
Design/methodology/approach: The theoretical framework draws on convention theory, especially referring to the four “possible worlds of production” (Salais/Storper 1993). The authors argue that animal welfare may be analysed in parallel to product quality, focusing on three major perspectives of sheep welfare: animal treatment, product quality, and an abstract conceptualisation in public discourse. The empirical analysis is based on interviews with key players in the sector and central documents.
Findings: Convention theory points to several general difficulties in reaching an agreement on what is “good quality” and welfare. First, the authors find difficulty in how to implement new regulatory conceptualisations with dominant ways of understanding welfare within the industry. Second, the idealised images of sheep welfare of an immaterial possible world dominating public discourse have very little interaction with the real world of farms and abattoirs.
Originality/value: This paper suggests that rather than addressing and handling the potential tension between the legal recognition of animal as sentient being and the economic demands of the industry, key actors keep the potentially conflicting understandings apart in different “worlds of production” (Salais/Storper 1993). Nevertheless, the authors observe that interactions between possible worlds, as well as translation from one possible world to another, not only could be promising but would be fundamental to concretise improvements in the real world.
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Samuel Esteban Rodríguez (2017)
Boletín de la Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles 74, pp. 483-513.
Abstract. This study is a comparative analysis of the Spanish Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) wine-producing regions between the production years of 2001–2002 and 2012–2013. The worlds of production theory was used as a framework for the classification of the different PDO regions based on their production characteristics and their target market. Use was made of a series of quantitative indicators related to technology and market type. Once the classification was made, it was verified whether this adjusted to the concepts of the theoretical model, and a subsequent analysis was performed on the results of each production year and the evolution taking place in the industry. Between 2001–2002 and 2013–2013 an increase was reported in product specialization and customization in a large number of PDO regions, which have shifted to become a part of the interpersonal world of production. In spite of this, among the PDO regions that had retained their model within the industrial world of production, adjustments were observed directed at improving their position by means of competitive pricing. The market world and the innovation world are less extended, despite legislative changes encouraging diversity within the industry.
Article in Spanish
Article in English (without reference list)
Stefano Ponte (2016)
Journal of Rural Studies, 44, pp. 12-23.
Abstract. In the past two decades, convention theory has been applied in various branches of agro-food studies, providing analytical and theoretical insight for examining alternative food networks, coordination and governance in agro-food value chains, and the so-called ‘quality turn’ in food production and consumption. In this article, I examine convention theory applications in the Anglophone literature on agro-food studies through the review of 51 relevant contributions. I highlight how CT has helped explain different modes of organization and coordination of agro-food operations in different places, and how it has provided new venues of approaching quality – in view of understanding how exchange of agro-food products takes place and with what social and power dynamics. I trace two main analytical streams of this literature: one focussing on agro-food adaptations of the ‘worlds of production’ framework (Salais and Storper, 1992; Storper and Salais, 1997); and another applying the ‘orders of worth’ approach of Boltanski and Thevenot (1991) and further elaborations of ‘quality conventions’. After tracing broad trajectories and the significance of new developments in this literature, I highlight its current limitations and suggest some directions for future research.
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