Defining agroecology Exploring the circulation of knowledge in FAO’s Global Dialogue



Published Aug 26, 2019
Allison Marie Loconto

Eve Fouilleux


This article traces how ‘agroecology’ is co-produced as a global socio-technical object. The site of co-production, the Global Dialogue on Agroecology, was convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in different cities around the world between 2014 and 2018 (Rome 2014; Brasilia, Dakar, Bangkok 2015; La Paz, Kunming, Budapest 2016; Rome 2018). We analyze these ‘expert’ symposia and regional meetings by exploring how knowledge about agroecology circulates and frames the terms of debate. Our analysis is based on an ethnography carried out by the first author since 2013 and participant observations by both authors in the Global Dialogue. We focus on three key processes that contribute to the stabilization of a global agroecology: 1) the work carried out to define ‘agroecology’, 2) actors’ interests and strategies that are revealed through the politics of circulation, and 3) the emergence of the ‘evidence based’ logic within this dialogue and the ‘experts’ who are legitimized. We argue that the version of ‘agroecology’ that was stabilized through the Global Dialogue is one that has been highly influenced by civil society actors, even though they were not recognized as ‘experts’ in the process. We conclude with reflections upon the politics of ‘agroecological’ knowledge and what this means for the institutionalization of agroecology.

How to Cite

Loconto, A. M. and Fouilleux, E. (2019) “Defining agroecology: Exploring the circulation of knowledge in FAO’s Global Dialogue”, The International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Paris, France, 25(2), pp. 116–137. doi: 10.48416/ijsaf.v25i2.27.
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