Alternative Food Networks from the Institutional Perspective



Published Apr 30, 2023
Ruta Śpiewak

Wojciech Goszczyński


This article analyses the internal diversity and dynamics of Polish Alternative Food Networks (AFNs), using the concept of institutions and their impact on collective action as a theoretical tool. Emphasis is put on four dimensions of AFNs’ internal diversity: meanings, association models, control mechanisms, and actions. The analysis is based on empirical material collected from nationwide qualitative studies conducted in six AFNs selected through purposive sampling. While adhering to a similar system of values focused on individual health, family and profit, the networks differ from one another in terms of the prevalent models of relationships, supervision, and activity. They appear to share certain motives and values in their market-oriented or own security-oriented actions and strategies, and show an inclination to use formal tools. In parallel, they reveal differences in their levels of focus on building internal relationships, which also emerge as the primary factor determining the potential and activity of the studied initiatives.

How to Cite

Śpiewak, R. and Goszczyński, W. (2023) “Alternative Food Networks from the Institutional Perspective”, The International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Paris, France, 29(1), pp. 5–24. doi: 10.48416/ijsaf.v29i1.482.
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alternative food networks, institutions, meanings, actions, associations, control

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