Democratising food: the case for a deliberative approach

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Prevailing political and ethical approaches which have been used to both critique and propose alternatives to the existing food system are lacking. Although food security, food sovereignty, food justice and food democracy all offer something important to our reflection on the global food system, none is adequate as an alternative to the status quo. This paper analyses each in order to identify the pre-requisites for such an alternative approach to food governance. These include a focus on goods like nutrition and health, equitable distribution, supporting livelihoods, environmental sustainability, and social justice. However, other goods, like the interests of nonhuman animals, are not presently represented. Moreover, incorporating all of these goods is incredibly demanding, and some are in tension. This raises the question of how each can be appropriately accommodated and balanced. The paper proposes that this ought to be done through deliberative democratic processes which incorporate the interests of all relevant parties at the local, national, regional and global levels. In other words, the paper calls for a deliberative approach to the democratisation of food. It also proposes that one promising potential for incorporating the interests of all affected parties and addressing power imbalances lies in organising the scope and remit of deliberation around food type.


Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Studies
Early online date13 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2020


  • Deliberative Democracy, Food Politics, Food Justice, Food Security, Global Food System, Democratisation, Non-Human Animals