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Re-localizing ‘legal’ food: a social psychology perspective on community resilience, individual empowerment and citizen adaptations in food consumption in Southern Italy

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  • Laura Emma Milani Marin

    () (IULM University)

  • Vincenzo Russo

    () (IULM University)

Abstract

Abstract This paper investigates how Food Security (FS) is enacted in a southern region of Italy, characterized by high rates of mafias-related activity, arguing for the inclusion in the research of socio-cultural features and power relationships to explain how Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) can facilitate individual empowerment and community resilience. In fact, while FS entails legality and social justice, AFNs are intended as ‘instrumental value’ to reach the ‘terminal value’ of FS within an urban community in Sicily, as well as the space where citizens can act their individual and collective political food choices. Building on the social psychology literature and on ecologic-psychopolitical models (Christens and Perkins in J Commun Psychol 36(2):214–231, 2008), we discuss the case of Addiopizzo, a citizen project promoting the legality of their AFNs through the rejection of the payment of the pizzo (the protection money asked by racket) in the local food chain. The aim is to problematize the extent to which FS is able to re-localize ‘legal’ food in the market. This was done by reconnecting citizens to their space and territory in a socio-cultural context at risk where agro-food producers, retailers and consumers are not free to fully enact their citizenship agency because of a widespread illegal structure. The research findings show that Addiopizzo project enables citizens to act their social power: agro-food producers and retailers by subscribing to formal requirements based on values that reject racket; consumers by purchasing Addiopizzo labelled products; individuals and groups by participating further open-to-the-public activities that promote everyday politically oriented behaviour. The citizen empowerment and community resilience can be exerted within AFNs as they are interconnected paths of reflexivity and social learning within social adaptation. The paper concludes by advocating the role of urban communities as a pivotal agent to maintain positive social adaptations, where AFNs work as a socio-cultural synthesis of traditional and alternative producer–consumer ways of interaction, which are embodied in the FS value.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Emma Milani Marin & Vincenzo Russo, 2016. "Re-localizing ‘legal’ food: a social psychology perspective on community resilience, individual empowerment and citizen adaptations in food consumption in Southern Italy," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 33(1), pages 179-190, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:33:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s10460-015-9628-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s10460-015-9628-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Patricia Allen, 2008. "Mining for justice in the food system: perceptions, practices, and possibilities," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 25(2), pages 157-161, June.
    2. Charles Levkoe, 2006. "Learning Democracy Through Food Justice Movements," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 23(1), pages 89-98, March.
    3. Michael Carolan, 2006. "Social change and the adoption and adaptation of knowledge claims: Whose truth do you trust in regard to sustainable agriculture?," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 23(3), pages 325-339, October.
    4. Robert Gottlieb & Andrew Fisher, 1996. "Community food security and environmental justice: Searching for a common discourse," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 13(3), pages 23-32, June.
    5. Helen Boon & Alison Cottrell & David King & Robert Stevenson & Joanne Millar, 2012. "Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory for modelling community resilience to natural disasters," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 60(2), pages 381-408, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hugh Campbell, 2016. "In the long run, will we be fed?," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 33(1), pages 215-223, March.

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