Debating Global Food Security Through Models The Agrimonde Foresight Study (2008–2010) and Criticism of Economic Models and of Their ‘Productionist’ Translations

Tétard, Gilles (2020)

In: Science, Technology & Society (2020): 1-19. Online first.


“This contribution to the sociology of food security as a globalised public issue highlights the importance of instruments of proof that underlie discourses on related matters. This article addresses the issue of the economic models that are used in the definition of the futures of food security. Through these models, the food security issue is centred on neo-liberal options which systematically and closely connect agricultural productivity and international agricultural trade. Over the last ten years, we have been witnessing the development of new kinds of foresight which construct alternative scenarios. Agrimonde (2008-2010) is one of them. This article highlights how this foresight attempts to open up the debate in instituted networks dedicated to food security in which economic models – and the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) model developed by IFPRI1 in particular – exert a strong influence. Furthermore, it examines the way in which Agrimonde’s construction principles and its underlying axiology engage in a critique of economic models. The Agrimonde approach also includes the mobilisation of the strategic resources required to perform the international debate and to raise the visibility of alternative conceptions of food security.”


“In this article, from the standpoint of the sociology of scientific controversies, we wish to stress that such divisions result not only from diverging interests or balance of power between partisan coalitions. The structuring of debates on food security also covers the use of tools of proof (Desrosières, 2008, 2014) which conflict with one another and which cover different actor networks.” (p. 2)