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Democratizing Society and Food Systems: Or How Do We Transform Modern Structures of Power?
Agriculture and Human Values (2001)
  • Kenneth Dahlberg, Western Michigan University
The evolution of societies and food systems across the grand transitions is traced to show how nature and culture have been transformed along with the basic structures of power, politics, and governance. A central, but neglected, element has been the synergy between the creation of industrial institutions and the exponential, but unsustainable growth of the built environment. The values, goals, and strategies needed to transform and diversify these structures – generally and in terms of food and agriculture – are discussed in terms of: 1) the need to diversify and decentralize the built environment as we move towards a post-fossil fuel society; and 2) the need to transform industrial institutions. To help develop more sustainable and regenerative institutions it is argued we will need to re-embed culture and society in nature; re-embed science, technology, and economics in society and nature; and re-embed governance and politics in society, something that requires a rethinking of representative democracy. Also, since the reforms needed to democratize society and to democratize food systems are parallel and reinforcing, it is crucial that each of us thinks through the linkages and the potential synergies and acts constructively in each realm.
  • Biodiversity,
  • Cultural Diversity,
  • Democratization,
  • Food systems,
  • Industrial ecology,
  • Industrial structures,
  • Institutions,
  • Power,
  • Sustainability
Publication Date
June, 2001
Publisher Statement
The final publication is available at Springer via
Citation Information
Kenneth Dahlberg. "Democratizing Society and Food Systems: Or How Do We Transform Modern Structures of Power?" Agriculture and Human Values Vol. 18 Iss. 2 (2001) p. 135 - 151
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