Beyond Europeanization: The politics of scale and positionality in Lithuania’s alternative food networks

Renata Blumberg, Diana Mincyte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article brings geographical insights to understanding the Europeanization of agri-food politics in new European Union member states. Most literature on agri-food policy and law in the European Union has conceptualized policy making and implementation as an institutional process involving multiple levels of governance. In this perspective, Europeanization is understood as a process through which stakeholders formulate, negotiate, and implement legal principles and procedures across various institutions at different levels of governance. By employing the conceptual tools developed in geographical research, we contribute a spatial and historical dimension to these studies. Our analysis shows how the politics of scale and sociospatial positionality can help explain idiosyncratic shifts in food policies in new European Union member states that could not be attributed solely to institutional processes. To develop these arguments, our empirical analysis focuses on shifting agri-food regulatory frameworks for Alternative Food Networks in Lithuania. In particular, we analyze how and why Lithuanian authorities began changing and simplifying food safety and veterinary requirements for the production, processing, and distribution of small quantities of food products sold directly to consumers through Alternative Food Networks in the local market. We show how Lithuania’s positionality in regional and global markets contributed to the growth of the direct sales sector. Our analysis also reveals the agency of local producers and consumers in creating conditions for policy change. This analysis suggests that Europeanization of food politics in the new European Union member states is best understood as a spatial reordering of the region and its historical relationships.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Urban and Regional Studies
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Alternative food networks
  • eastern enlargement
  • Europeanization
  • food standards
  • Lithuania

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