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Issue № 65. December 2017

Food Sovereignty: Political Concept, Social Movement and Counter-hegemonic Discourse of the 21st Century

Alexander V. Malov

Graduate student, Faculty of Political Science, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation.

The article explores the notion of Food Sovereignty. The author described the features of the emergence and formation of the idea of food sovereignty. The article gives considerable attention to the study of the international peasant movement La Via Campesina. Identification of the social movement was carried out with the help of Alain Touraine’s classification. Using the constructivist theory of Eric Hobsbawm, it was found that peasant movement La Via Campesina integrated a myth into its political program to confirm its collective identity and strengthen the value platform. In addition, the author uncovered the ontological meaning of Food Sovereignty, which consists of the correction of the value frame as well as the transfer of food from the category of “market goods” to “human nature”. With the help of comparative and semiotic methods, the article compared the concepts related to Food Sovereignty, as well as their distinctive characteristics. In the process of comparison, it was established that Food Sovereignty rejects the strong linkage of the political status to the general human qualities and insists on the transfer of “the right to have rights” to a person who realized the need to reform the relationship with nature. The author proposes an innovative concept of “Agrarian Citizenship” for regulating the modified relationships between man and nature. Using the Semiotic Square of Algridas Greimas, the author presented a logical-semiotic model of the relation between the concepts of Food Sovereignty and Food Security and proved their inability to form a dichotomy, fixing the degree of state solvency. At the end of this paper, the author came to the conclusion that Right to Food — is a legal concept, Food Security — a technical notion, and Food Sovereignty — a political project.


Food sovereignty, food security, agrarian citizenship, hunger, food threat, food self-sufficiency, globalization.

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