Mobilising the values of citizens in grassroots innovation: the case of online free reuse groups
Authors: Chris Martin, Paul Upham
Abstract: New conceptual tools are needed within socio-technical transitions theory to explain the role of values in the development, diffusion and impacts of grassroots innovations. We report ongoing research developing a framework for analysing how citizen’s values are mobilised within grassroots innovations, drawing on an empirical study of free reuse groups. The case study applies a mixed-method approach integrating insights from a survey measuring the values of citizens participating in free reuse groups and an ethnographic study of how these values are mobilised. We find that free reuse groups mobilise citizens with diverse values, including citizens with pro-social values that are typical of the general population. This in turn has implications for theorising the role of values in the diffusion of grassroots innovations. Furthermore, we believe the role of values merits closer attention in transitions theory: values underpin agency and can have a powerful role in motivating and hindering change.
Alternative Food Initiatives for Environmental Justice: Marginal or Transformative?
Authors: Zeynep Kadirbeyoglu, Nazli Konya
Abstract: Access to healthy and affordable food on the consumer side and the ability to make a decent living by producing food crops are important areas of exclusion in today’s corporatised food governance regime. Alternative food initiatives (AFIs) have been established worldwide in order to re-conceptualize production, distribution and consumption processes. These initiatives attempt to address a set of multi-layered issues by creating counter-institutions and practices which can be conceptualized under the general theme of environmental justice. This paper adopts an environmental justice and diverse economies approach in order to evaluate whether AFIs can play a transformative role by focusing on three AFIs from Turkey. Transformative role refers to whether AFIs are able to challenge unjust corporate controlled agricultural practices to bring about a more just production, distribution and consumption relations/processes.
The enthusiasm for urban farming from a cultural political economy perspective
Authors: Karin Dobernig, Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle, Bernd Bösel
Abstract: Urban food growing has spurred much interest and enthusiasm among urban citizens, NGOs, and city governments of the Global North in recent years. While not a new practice per se, urban food growing is nowadays positioned at the nexus of a broad range of issues seen critical for urban sustainability, including ecological resilience, public health, community engagement, and education. In this paper we aim to provide three contributions. First, we explore the affective and dispositional roots of this enthusiasm around urban food growing. Second, we identify and describe the carriers of this enthusiasm from a political economy perspective. Third, we discuss the cultural potential of the practice of urban food growing to invoke or enhance a socio-ecological transformation through building stable assemblages of change.
WORKING CLASS COMMUNITIES AND ECOLOGY: Reframing Environmental Justice around the Ilva steel plant in Taranto (Apulia, Italy)
Authors: Emanuele Leonardi, Stefania Barca
Abstract: In July 2012, a local Preliminary Hearing Judge ordered the closing of the most polluting furnaces of the Ilva steel plant in Taranto, the largest and one of the oldest such factories in Europe, finding its management guilty of environmental and public health disaster (Barca 2014a). After decades of imperturbable – if unequal – balance amongst social actors, the confiscation set in motion an unprecedented conflict between environmental and community activists, on the one hand, and the company owners, backed by government support, on the other. The conflict inevitably extended to the Metalworkers’ unions confederation, sparking a profound and irreversible crisis; its initial manifestations of loyalty and support to the company – in continuation with decades-long attitudes of quiescence towards the job blackmail – encountered the unexpected opposition of substantial parts of the rank-and-file, causing the union to lose much of its credibility and a significant number of affiliates.