IGS Seminar on Political Ecology


Political Agronomy: Knowledge production and policy framing in the era of Super- and Miracle Food.

5-6 June 2019, University of Lausanne.




During this seminar, we will explore the political agronomy approach (Sumberg et al., 2014) that draws on political ecology, political economy and science and technology studies approaches to question the politics of agenda setting for both research and policy in agriculture. We will show how this approach helps understanding the politics of knowledge production and circulation in the field of agronomy and food studies. This includes theoretical reflections on the interplay between science and policy (Sumberg et al., 2013; Turnhout, 2018) as well as medias and civil society (Sumberg and Thompson, 2012).


Secondly, we will question the role played by discourse analysis approaches in this understanding. We will explore concepts of frames and framing processes, discursive coalitions (Hajer, 2006) and epistemic communities (Haas, 1992), regime of the economics of techno-scientific promises (Joly, 2013) as well as the uses of linguistic features like metaphors (Fairclough, 2005; Larson, 2014; Maasen and Weingart, 2000).


We will then focus on the case of superfood and miracle food in the specific context of Development Cooperation and Agricultural Research for Development. This includes reflections on biofortification as well as rediscovery of “ancient” miracle food (quinoa, fonio, sorghum, etc..) and the scientific and political discourses that legitimates their priorisation in both research and policy intervention agendas in “the Global South”.


We will conclude the doctoral seminar with a field visit of actors involved in quinoa production in Western Switzerland.

Invited speakers

James Sumberg, University of Sussex, Institute of development Studies, UK.
Elise Demeulenaere, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, France.
Valérie Boisvert, University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography and Sustainability, Switzerland.
Sheila Rao, Carleton University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Canada.
Emma McDonell, Indiana University, Department of Anthropology, USA.
Florence Bétrisey, University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography and Sustainability, Switzerland.
Didier Bazile, Cirad, Montpelier, France.

Programme  (1053 Ko)

Registrations are closed.

For further information, please contact Astrid.Oppliger@unil.ch