Reflexive governance, incorporating ethics and changing understandings of food chain performance

Kirwan, James and Maye, Damian and Brunori, Gianluca (2017) Reflexive governance, incorporating ethics and changing understandings of food chain performance. Sociologia Ruralis, 57 (3). pp. 357-377. ISSN 0038-0199

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This paper argues that ethics is a key driver of change in food chain performance. Critically, multiple stakeholder perspectives need to be understood as being legitimate when developing shared norms of what is understood by food supply chain (FSC) performance. To develop this perspective, the paper examines the discourses surrounding the performance of FSCs in 12 different national contexts. It develops a multi-criteria performance matrix (MCPM) composed of 24 attributes that reflect national FSC sustainability discourses. Specifically, it considers the potential role of reflexive governance in encouraging change to the frames by which actors and institutions judge the performance of FSCs. In assessing the links between ethics and reflexive governance, two types of ethical attribute are identified: ‘commonly identified’ attributes, which signify ethical dilemmas routinely discussed yet open to debate and subject to refinement and change; and ‘procedural’ attributes, which describe actions that encourage actors in the FSC to organise and structure themselves so as to more explicitly embody ethical considerations in their activities. The MCPM can be understood as a form of sustainability appraisal, but also as a cognitive tool with which to instigate further deliberation and action, helping to better manage transitions to sustainability within FSCs.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sustainability; Agriculture; Transitions; Consumption; Economy; Systems
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Eloise Fresnay
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2017 12:14
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2017 17:28

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