The political economy of agroecological transitions

A Research in Progress seminar with Ben McKay
Associate professor
Dr Ben McKay
Thursday 30 Nov 2023, 16:00 - 17:00
Spoken Language
Room 4.42
International Institute of Social Studies
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Ben McKay

In this Research in Progress Seminar, Ben McKay discusses the role of agroecology in prioritizing farmers’ knowledge and strengthening the co-production of human and non-human nature.

Agroecological transitions are fraught with challenges. Not only are there structural and institutional barriers or ‘lock-ins’ that uphold an unsustainable global food system, agroecological transitions require rethinking how we work with ecosystems and involve a shift in productive and reproductive relations in agriculture.

In this seminar, Ben McKay will argue that agroecology problematizes prevalent relations of production in industrial agriculture. It seeks to shift control over the labour process and value appropriation, while working to repair epistemic and metabolic rifts by prioritizing farmers’ knowledge and strengthening the co-production of human and non-human nature.

But what are the factors that may facilitate or restrict agroecological transitions?

He uses a political economy approach to focus on several key interrelated aspects for analyzing agroecological transitions which he believes can contribute to understanding the possibilities for, and challenges to, food system transformations.

About the speaker

Ben M. McKay is Associate Professor of Development and Sustainability at the University of Calgary in Canada.

His research focuses on the political economy and ecology of agrarian change in Latin America, agrarian extractivism and food sovereignty alternatives. He is the author of The Political Economy of Agrarian Extractivism: Lessons from Bolivia (Fernwood, 2020) and co-editor of the Handbook of Critical Agrarian Studies (Edward Elgar, 2021), and Agrarian Extractivism in Latin America (Routledge, 2021).

More information

The Research in Progress seminars provide an informal venue for presentations of ongoing research by ISS researchers and scholars from the wider development studies community.

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