Agriculture and Food in the Globalisation Age



Published Jan 4, 2004
Manuel Belo Moreira


The objective of this article is to reflect on three basic questions concerning globalization and its effects on agriculture and food: what are the major characteristics of globalization? Who are its major actors? And what are the future trends? Highlighted are two primary changes that differentiate contemporary globalization from the past. Changes in the international financial system altered the relations between the state and capital and between capital and labor. They also created new forms of management and the development of new strategies from the major actors of globalization, the transnational corporations. Attention is paid to the logic and dynamics of the global actors and their relationships with the local actors, illustrated through examples concerning agro-food. To consider future trends in agriculture and food, a framework was created based on a two-scenario approach: backlash and further globalization. This framework also makes an appeal to the concepts of appropriationism and substitutionism that reflect the industrialization of agriculture, and the technological treadmill resulting from the structural dynamic induced by market competition between farmers. Finally, it is shown that globalization, as a state-led process, occurs within a highly contested and disputed arena. This means that attention must be paid to the profound gap between the rhetoric and the underlying ideology, both extremely liberal and pro-market, and the praxis that reveals a much more complex outcome. The globalizing idea, even as it is hegemonic inside the most relevant nation-states apparatus, is tempered by state pragmatism in response to the game of power relations

How to Cite

Belo Moreira, M. . (2004) “Agriculture and Food in the Globalisation Age ”, The International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Paris, France, 12, pp. 17–28. doi: 10.48416/ijsaf.v12i.320.
Abstract 86 | PDF Downloads 65


Aglietta, Michel 1992. “Liberation Financière, Stabilité, Croissance.” (Financial Liberalization, Stability, Growth) La Nouvelle Revue Socialiste, Juin: 59-68.
Arce, Alberto and Terry Marsden 1993 “The social construction of international food: a research agenda” in Economic Geography 69:293-312.
Bairoch, Paul 1997. “Globalization myths and realities", p.173-192 in States Against Markets, edited by Boyer and Drache. London: Routledge.
Bergstein, C. Fred 2000. “The Backlash Against Globalization.” Annual meeting of the Trilateral Commission, in
Berthelot, Jacques 2001. L’agriculture talon d’Achille de la mondialisation. Clés pour un accord agricole solidaire à l’OMC. Paris: L’Harmattan.
Bonanno, Alessandro, et al. 1994a.“Global Post-Fordism and Concepts of the State” in International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, Vol. IV, pp. 11-29.
Bonanno, Alessandro, et al. (ed.) 1994b. From Columbus to ConAgra. The Globalization of Agriculture and Food. Pp. 1-26, University Press of Kansas.
Buttel, Fred 2001 “Some Reflections on Late Twentieth Century Agrarian Political Economy” in Sociologia Ruralis, Vol. 41, Number 2, pp. 165-181.
Castells, Manuel 2003. “A Cidade na Nova Economia” in Machado, Jorge (Org.) Trabalho, Economia e Tecnologia. S. Paulo (Brasil), Editora Tendenz & Editora Praxis.
Chesnais, François 2000. Tobin or not Tobin? Uma taxa internacional sobre o capital para apoio aos cidadãos (An international tax over capital to support citzens). Porto, Campo da Comunicação.
Cochrane, Willard 1979. The Development of American Agriculture: A Historical Analysis, Minneapolis: University of Minesota Press.
Conroy, Michael E. et al. 1996. A Cautionary Tale. Failed U.S. Development Policy in Central America, Boulder, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.
Constance, Douglas and William Heffernan. 1991. The Global Agro/Food Complex in International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, Vol. I, pp. 126-142.
Dixon, Keith 1999. Os Evangelistas do Mercado. (Market Evangelists). Oeiras (Portugal): Celta.
Fitoussi, Jean-Paul 1997. O Debate-Tabu. Moeda, Europa, Pobreza. Lisboa (Portugal): Terramar.
Francis, Charles A. 2003. review of Marion Nestle book “Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health” in Crop Science, Madison. Vol. 43, Iss. 3, pg 1142.
Friedman, Harriet. and Philip McMichael 1989. “Agriculture and the state system. The rise and decline of national agricultures, 1870 to the present” in Sociologia Ruralis, Vol.XXIX (2), pp. 93-117.
Friedland, William 1994. “Globalization, the state, and the labor process” in International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, Vol. IV, pp. 30-46.
George, Susan 1999. “A Short History of Neo-liberalism: Twenty Years of Elite Economics and Emerging Opportunities for Structural Change.” Paper presented at the Conference on Economic Sovereignity in a Globalising World, Bangkok, 24-26 March, available on the Web
Giddens, Antony 1992. As Consequências da Modernidade. Oeiras: Celta Editora.
Gomez Cruz, Manuel et al.1991. "Principal Indicators of the Vegetable Production Subsector in Mexico for the Negotiations for a Trilateral Free Trade Agreement." Working Paper # 10 of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Network Conference, University of California, Santa Cruz, December 1991.
Goodman, David and Michael Watts 1997. Globalising Food: agrarian questions and global restructuring. London: Routledge.
Goodman, David et al. 1987. From Farming to Biotechnology. A theory of Agro-Industrial Development, Oxford: Blackwell.
Gray, Jennifer, Gillian Armstrong and Heather Farley 2003. “Opportunities and Constraints in the Functional Food Market”. Nutrition and Food Science. Bradford. Vol. 33, Iss. 5, pp. 213-218.
Hayes, Dermot and Sergio Lence 2002. “A New Brand of Agriculture. Farmer-Owned Brands Reward Innovation.” Choices. The American Agricultural Economics Association, Fall:6-10.
Heffernan, William 1999 “Consolidation in the Food and Agriculture System”. Report to the National Farmers Union.
Higgins, Kieran 2001. “Global Food Retailing” in British Food Journal, Vol. 103, Iss. 10, pg 749-754.
Krugman, Paul 1997. “Seven habits of highly defective investors.” Fortune. December 29:22-23.
Llambí, Luis, Elièzer Arias and German Freire 1999. “Grounding globalization theory: local responses to global processes in the light of the global-local links debate in rural sociology”. Pp 91-108, in Local Responses to Global Integration, edited by Kasimis, Charalambos. and Apostolos Papadopoulos. Aldershot (UK): Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Markusen, James 1995. “The boundaries of multinational enterprises and the theory of international trade.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 9, 2:169-189.
Marsden, Terry 1997. “Creating Space for Food: The distinctiveness of recent agrarian development.” Pp169-191 in Globalising Food: agrarian questions and global restructuring, edited by Goodman and Watts. London: Routledge.
McMichael, Philipe and D. Myhre 1991. “Global regulation vs. the nation-state: agro-food systems and the new politics of capital.” Capital &Class, 43, Spring: 83-105.
McMichael, Philipe 1996. Development and Social Change. A Global Perspective. Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press.
Moreira, Manuel and Chris Gerry 2003. “The impact of global economic integration on the countryside. Reflections on the Portuguese experience.” Pp 69-94 in Local reactions to globalization processes. Competitive adaptation or socioeconomic erosion, edited by Francisco Entrena. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Moreira, Manuel 2003. “The relevance of agency on the ignition of the globalization process.” RC-40 Mini-Conference on Resistance and Agency in Contemporary Agriculture and Food: Empirical Cases and New Theories June 13-14, Austin, Texas.
National Research Council (of the National Academies) 2003. Countering Agricultural Bioterrorism. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Petrella, Riccardo 1996. “Globalization and internationalization. The dynamics of the emerging world order”. Pp62-83, in States Against Markets, edited by Boyer and Drache. London, Routledge.
Prasad, Eswar et al. 2003. Effects of Financial Globalization on Developing Countries: Some Empirical Evidence, International Monetary Fund,
Raynolds, Laura 1997. “Restructuring national agriculture, agro-food trade, and agrarian livelihoods in the Caribbean”. Pp119-132 in Globalising Food: agrarian questions and global restructuring, edited by Goodman and Watts. London: Routledge.
Renard, Marie-Christine 1999. Los Intersticios de la Globalización: un label (Max Havelaar) para los pequeños productores de café. Mexico D.F.:Embajada Real de los Países Bajos and others.
Rodrik, Dani 2002. “Feasible Globalization.”, academic.ksg/papers.html.
------. 2001. “The Developing Countries’ Hazardous Obsession with Global Integration”, web version of an article to be published in Foreign Policy magazine under the title “Trading in Illusions”, 14. …
Samuelson, Paul 2002. “A Herança do Século XX.” (The Heritage of the XX Century) Economia Pura, Ano V, nº 46, Maio:60-74.
Schumpeter, Joseph 1952. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. London: George Allen& Unwin Ltd.
Sklair, Leslie 2001. The Transnational Capitalist Class. Oxford (UK): Blackwell Publishers.
Stiglitz, Joseph 2002. Globalization and its discontents. New York: W.W. Norton & Company..
Wallerstein, Immanuel 2001. “America and the World: The Twin Towers as Metaphor”. Charles R. Lawrence II Memorial Lecture, Brooklyn College, Dec. 5. Captured in March 2004 on
Watts, Michael and David Goodman 1997. “Agrarian questions. Global appetite, local metabolism: nature, culture, and industry in fin-de-siècle agro-food systems.Pp.1-32, in Globalising Food: agrarian questions and global restructuring, edited by Goodman and Watts. London: Routledge