Call for Papers: Transformations in Contemporary Food Systems

RHN 52/2017 | Call

Organiser: New Directions in Agri-Environmental Governance (SNSF Research project, University of Neuchâtel)

12 September 2017, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Deadline for applications: 15 May 2017

Call for Papers:
Young Scholar Research Seminar
Transformations in Contemporary Food Systems: Social Science Approaches to Researching the Food-Agriculture-Environment Nexus

The idea behind this seminar is to bring together young scholars from Switzerland and abroad, who have a shared research interest in the above stated topic and to give them an opportunity for exchange, feedback and networking. This pre-event is organized within the frame of the SNSF-funded public symposium on “Re-inventing food systems through agri-environmental governance? Diversity of governance practices and everyday transformations in the food-agriculture-environment nexus”, which will be held at the University of Neuchâtel (for more information see:

Thematic focus
The overall theme of the Young Scholar Research Seminar broadly covers the food-agriculture-environment nexus. Within recent years, a wide range of social science disciplines (incl. for example anthropology, sociology, history, geography, political science and economics) have offered new understandings of this thematic complex in all its forms and attempted to dissect its various dimensions, such as production (e.g. diverse farming methods, agricultural systems and policies), distribution (e.g. retail organisation, markets, alternative food networks) or consumption (e.g. consumers’ preferences, food access and security, eating habits). Likewise, food itself, as well as environmental, economic or health-related concerns and challenges coming along with recent transformations are gaining increasing public attention. It is the aim of this workshop to allow young scholars from a multitude of disciplines to come together, exchange their viewpoints and engage in discussions about their respective theories, methods and empirical case studies, in order to allow everyone to better grasp the entangled nature of our contemporary food systems.

The seminar will follow the format of parallel paper discussion sessions, during which each participant will have the chance to obtain in-depth feedback on his/her submitted paper, as well as to provide feedback on the work of the other group members. Up to three groups will be organized thematically; they will be limited to four young scholars per group; each group will be led by one of the following senior researchers, who will also provide their detailed feedback:

The seminar will be closed off with a joint discussion of the three separate group discussions, how the contributions relate to the overall theme of the public symposium the day after, and what lessons we can take away for our future research. Participants are welcome to stay on for the public event on the following day.

Requirements for attending the seminar

  • Submit a paper of your own choice (5-20 pages) two weeks before the seminar (i.e. by 30. August 2017). This can be a chapter of your thesis, a journal article you are currently working on, or a ‘spew draft’ of rough ideas which you want to develop further.
  • Along with the paper, provide a 1-2 page personal statement that includes (i) a reading guide, (ii) your methodological approach, and (iii) a reflection on how your work relates to the overall topic of the public symposium
    i. e.g. briefly explain what other participants should consider when reading your discussion paper; mention where you think you need feedback; include open questions that you have.
    ii. provide some key information about your methodological approach. This is important for the other readers to consider when giving feedback.
    iii. Your contribution must obviously fit into the overall topic of the seminar. However, it is not necessary to frame your paper accordingly. Nevertheless, we expect that you consult the reading list of the workshop and reflect on how it fits or not fits into your work
  • Read the other papers that will be discussed in your group
  • Actively participate during the paper discussion rounds: i.e. it is expected that everyone provides feedback to the work of the other participants in the group sessions and engages in the overall discussion at the end of the day.

Who can apply?
To ensure an intimate seminar atmosphere and to give each student equal time for in-depth feedback on his/her work, the number of participants will be limited to 12 young scholars. Applications are welcome from PhD students and Postdoc researchers who are enrolled/employed at higher education institutions and independent research organizations. Applications from advanced Master students will be considered as well.

How to apply?

Please send an email including the application form to the organizers of the seminar by 15. May 2017. We will review all applications and get back to you within due time.

Practical information
The seminar will be held at the University of Neuchâtel and the working language will be English. To cover the cost of the seminar and to provide a light lunch and refreshments, we kindly ask all participants for a contribution of CHF 25. Further details will be provided by email once we approach the date of the seminar.