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Can Consumer Demand Deliver Sustainable Food?

Recent Research in Sustainable Consumption Policy and Practice

Cindy Isenhour

From Slow Food and farmers' markets to ecolabels and fair trade an unprecedented number of consumer-based alternative food movements have risen in response to concerns about the environmental and social effects of industrialized agriculture. Some research suggests that these movements are successful in their efforts to reconnect communities, demystify global food chains, and produce sustainable foods, which are healthier for the planet and human bodies. Yet other scholars argue that the contemporary focus on consumer responsibility in policy and practice indicates much more than a process of reflexive modernization. The devolution of responsibility to consumers and the dominance of market-based solutions, these scholars argue, reflect the growing influence of neoliberal environmental governance. From this perspective these movements are naive in their assumption that consumers have the power necessary to overcome the structural barriers that inhibit significant change. These critics argue that the focus on consumer responsibility excludes those without access to consumer choice, reproduces social hierarchies, and fails to deliver the political and redistributive solutions necessary to achieve sustainability. Drawing on research across the social sciences this article surveys the existing evidence about the effectiveness of consumer-based movements in their attempts to create sustainable food systems.

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Julia Baird, Ryan Plummer, Diane Dupont, and Blair Carter

Drinking water quality problems are persistent and challenging for many of Canada's First Nations communities despite past and ongoing initiatives to improve the situation. These initiatives have often been employed without consideration for understanding the social context that is so critical for the development of appropriate water governance approaches. This article offers insights about the relationship between institutions for water governance and perceptions in three Ontario First Nations communities. Similarities among communities were particularly noticeable for gender where women valued water more highly and were less content with water quality. The findings presented here highlight potential impacts of displacement, gender, and water sources on perceptions of water quality and offer initial insights that indicate the need for further research to consider the potential for adaptive governance approaches that enhance fit between problem and social contexts.

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De la gestión local a la gobernanza global

Actores e interacciones multiniveles en la gestión del agua en la ciudad de México

Joyce Valdovinos

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: The provision of water services has traditionally been considered a responsibility of the state. During the late 1980s, the private sector emerged as a key actor in the provision of public services. Mexico City was no exception to this trend and public authorities awarded service contracts to four private consortia in 1993. Through consideration of this case study, two main questions arise: First, why do public authorities establish partnerships with the private sector? Second, what are the implications of these partnerships for water governance? This article focuses, on the one hand, on the conceptual debate of water as a public and/or private good, while identifying new trends and strategies carried out by private operators. On the other hand, it analyzes the role of the state and its relationships with other actors through a governance model characterized by partnerships and multilevel networks.

Spanish abstract: La provisión del servicio del agua ha sido tradicionalmente considerada como una responsabilidad del Estado. A finales de la década de 1980, el sector privado emerge como un actor clave en el suministro de servicios públicos. La ciudad de México no escapa a esta tendencia y en 1993 las autoridades públicas firman contratos de servicios con cuatro consorcios privados. A través de este estudio de caso, dos preguntas son planteadas: ¿Por qué las autoridades públicas establecen partenariados con el sector privado? ¿Cuáles son las implicaciones de dichos partenariados en la gobernanza del agua? Este artículo aborda por una parte, el debate conceptual del agua como bien público y/o privado, identificando nuevas tendencias y estrategias de los operadores privados. Por otra parte, se analizan el rol y las relaciones del Estado con otros actores a través de un modelo de gobernanza, definido en términos de partenariados y redes multi-niveles.

French abstract: Les services de l'eau ont été traditionnellement considérés comme une responsabilité de l'État. À la fin des années 1980, le secteur privé est apparu comme un acteur clé dans la fourniture de certains services publics. La ville de Mexico n'a pas échappé à cette tendance et en 1993, les autorités publiques ont signé des contrats de services avec quatre consortiums privés. À travers cette étude de cas, nous nous interrogerons sur deux aspects : pourquoi les autorités publiques établissentelles des partenariats avec le secteur privé ? Quelles sont les implications de ces partenariats sur la gouvernance de l'eau ? Cet article s'intéresse, d'une part, au débat conceptuel sur l'eau en tant que bien public et/ou privé, en identifiant les tendances nouvelles et les stratégies menées par les opérateurs privés. D'autre part y sont analysés le rôle de l'État et ses relations avec d'autres acteurs à travers un modèle de gouvernance, défini en termes de partenariats, et des réseaux multi-niveaux.

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La conexión entre política de cohesión y gobernanza económica en la UE

Eficiencia del nuevo marco para abordar las consecuencias de la crisis

Laura Gómez Urquijo

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: The objective of this article is to contribute to the discussion on the validity of new instruments to enhance cohesion in the European Union (EU). First, we question to which extent cohesion policy is submitted to the new economic governance. Second, we discuss this subordination affects the fulfillment of cohesion aims. This question is especially relevant due to the increase of inequalities in the current economic crisis and the great diversity among State Members (including social protection systems and expenses). Thus, our starting point is the new economic governance framework and its impact on the fulfillment of cohesion objectives. Statistical data are considered with this aim. Next, we will assess the role of European Structural and Investment Funds to eventually compensate public expense cuts, as well as its subordination to the macroeconomic government. This aspect will be contrasted through the study of Country Specific Recommendations given by the European Semester.

Spanish abstract: El objetivo de este artículo es contribuir a la discusión sobre la validez de los nuevos instrumentos para fomentar la cohesión en la Unión Europea. Nos preguntamos en qué modo queda sometida la política de cohesión a la nueva gobernanza económica y cómo afecta a la efectividad para cubrir susfines. Esta cuestión es particularmente relevante ante el incremento de las desigualdades suscitado en la crisis económica actual. Por ello, nuestro punto de partida es el nuevo marco de gobernanza económica y su impacto en el cumplimiento de los objetivos de cohesión, considerando para ello datos estadísticos. A continuación, valoraremos, el papel de los Fondos Estructurales y de Inversión Europeos como posibles compensadores de la reducción del gasto público así como su subordinación al gobierno macroeconómico. Esta cuestión será contrastada también a través del examen de las Recomendaciones Específicas por país dadas por el Semestre Europeo.

French abstract: Le but de cet article est de contribuer à la discussion sur la validité de nouveaux instruments pour promouvoir la cohésion dans l'UE. Nous avons considéré, d'une part, en quoi la politique de cohésion est soumise à la nouvelle gouvernance économique et, d'autre part, la façon dont elle utilise l'efficacité pour répondre à ses fins. Cette question est particulièrement pertinente étant donnée l'augmentation de l'inégalité soulevée par la crise économique actuelle, dans un contexte de grande diversité d'États membres, notamment en ce qui concerne les systèmes de protection sociale et les dépenses publiques. Par conséquent, notre point de départ s'inscrit dans le nouveau cadre de gouvernance économique et son impact sur la mise en œuvre des objectifs de cohésion, à partir de la prise en compte de données statistiques. Pour ce faire, nous évaluons le rôle des Fonds Structurels Européens, leur capacité de compenser la réduction des dépenses publiques et leur subordination au gouvernement macroéconomique. Ce e question sera également abordée par l'examen des recommandations spécifiques par pays fournies par le Semestre Européen.

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Cross-border governance on the U.S.–Mexico border

Institutional challenges and developments in health collaboration

Pamela Lizette Cruz

*RISC Award for Best Paper presented at the 2013 conference of the Association for Borderlands Studies

English abstract: This article examines public policies and development of institutions at the U.S.– Mexico border related to the progression of cross-border health governance. Establishing interlinkages between health and security aspects of the border collaboration, I systematically present a descriptive panorama of the problems inherent to cross-border health governance and analyze institutional perspectives and border typology. As borders continue to change with time, cross-border collaboration continues to be shaped and redefined. In analyzing the challenges facing the border today, what would effective cross-border governance entail? Who are the actors and what are the processes that may facilitate cross-border health governance?

Spanish abstract: Este artículo examina las políticas públicas y el desarrollo de las instituciones en la frontera México-Estados Unidos en relación con la progresión de la gobernanza sanitaria transfronteriza. Estableciendo vínculos entre el sector salud y los aspectos de seguridad de la colaboración transfronteriza, la autora presenta sistemáticamente un panorama descriptivo de los problemas inherentes a la gobernanza sanitaria transfronteriza y analiza las perspectivas institucionales y la tipología de frontera. Como las fronteras continúan cambiando con el tiempo, la colaboración transfronteriza continúa redefiniéndose y tomando forma. En el análisis de los desafíos que enfrenta la frontera hoy, ¿qué implicaría una gobernanza transfronteriza eficaz? ¿Quiénes son los actores y procesos que facilitarían la gobernanza sanitaria transfronteriza?

French abstract: Cet article examine les politiques publiques et les développements institutionnels survenus à la frontière américano-mexicaine dans le domaine de la gouvernance sanitaire transfrontalière. En établissant des liens entre la santé et les aspects sécuritaires de la collaboration transfrontalière, j'entends ainsi dresser un panorama descriptif des problèmes inhérents à la gouvernance sanitaire transfrontalière, tout en analysant les perspectives institutionnelles et la typologie des frontières. Alors que les frontières continuent d'évoluer avec le temps, la collaboration transfrontalière ne cesse continuellement de se façonner et se redéfinir. Au regard des défis actuels de la frontière, quels enjeux impliquent une gouvernance transfrontalière efficace? Qui sont les acteurs et lesquels sont susceptibles de faciliter la gouvernance de la santé transfrontalière?

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Governance of or through culture?

Cultural policy and the politics of culture in Europe

Banu Karaca

The notion of culture has loomed large in discourses and polemics regarding European integration and immigration in the European framework. While culture, as in fundamental cultural difference, is identified as the source of contemporary political quandaries, its incarnation as intercultural dialogue is conceived as their solution. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the arts settings of Berlin and Istanbul, this article elucidates how this type of "culture talk" intersects with recent cultural policy formations in the European Union and the national arenas of Germany and Turkey. Much of the political productivity of culture arises from a constant slippage between the different, often contradictory, meanings accorded to the culture-concept. This extension of the "rhetoric of culture" engenders a shift from a governance of culture to one through culture by relaying an array of pressing political concerns from the realm of social and economic policy to that of culture in the sense of artistic expression.

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Making a river of gold

Speculative state planning, informality, and neoliberal governance on the Hooghly

Laura Bear

This article examines the forms of state planning associated with neoliberalism, through a history and ethnography of the Kolkata Port Trust during liberalization. All state plans are promised futures which create a contested dialogue between bureaucrats and citizens. Neoliberal governance makes these interactions particularly ambiguous and opaque, because it relies on decentralized, speculative planning and the stimulation of public-private partnerships. These produce diverse, behind-the-scenes negotiations whose outcome is entirely different from the schemes initially outlined in textual state promises. It also places low-level bureaucrats in a liminal, Janus-faced role, in which they act both to create and to cross a boundary between public and private action. This new mode of rule is particularly problematic in settings such as the Hooghly River, where informality dominates in labor relationships. Bureaucrats deploy practices previously associated with “corruption” and patronage in order to enfold networks of unprotected labor into the revenue streams and plans of the state.

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A human rights-based approach

A gate to development of African women's land rights?

Karin Tengnäs

The global competition for African land is at a historical peak. Local effects of large-scale land acquisitions depend on multiple factors, but women's rights and livelihoods are generally very fragile due to historical and contemporary injustices. Good land governance is important for turning the land acquisitions into equal and equitable development opportunities. The human rights-based approach promotes good governance by adding strength and legal substance to the principles of participation and inclusion, openness and transparency, accountability and the rule of law, and equality and nondiscrimination. By empowering rights-holders and enhancing duty-bearers' capacity, international development cooperation can lead to wider and more gender-balanced inclusion of civil society in negotiations of large-scale land acquisitions and greater adherence of duty-bearers to the rule of law. This is especially important in African countries with large amounts of land and weak legal and institutional frameworks to protect rights, especially those of women.

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Ludger Helms

While the Federal Republic has been famously characterized as a "grand coalition state," the Merkel government, formed in the after-math of the 2005 federal election, is only the second CDU/CSU-SPD coalition at the federal level since 1949. A comparison of the present administration with the first grand coalition government (1966-1969) reveals a wealth of differences that include some of the basic parameters of governing and governance in Germany, such as the structure of the party system and the overall public climate. Also, the personnel features and patterns of informal coalition governance under Chancellors Angela Merkel and Kurt-Georg Kiesinger display major differences. Arguably the single most important difference between the two administrations, however, relates to the level of public policy, with the Merkel government seeking to reverse some of the key decisions of its historical predecessor. Such u-turn dynamics have been particularly tangible in the field of federal system reform.

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Student engagement in the management of accelerated change

Anthropological reflections on ‘Project 2012’ and The Offer

Anselma Gallinat

university setting, it highlighted a multiplicity of values and of governance structures which at times moved at different speeds or in different directions. In this way, a light was shone not only on the internal ambiguities of modernised higher education