Velicu, Irina; Oprea, Anastasia; Delibas, Hestia (orgs.) (2022), HRANA: O Scurta Colectie de Povestiri Rurale (NOURISHMENT: A Short Collection of Rural Stories from Romania and Portugal. open access book in RO


Articole științifice în echipă

Velicu, Irina (2022). The Peasant way or the Urban way? Why Disidentification Matters for Rural Emancipation, in Maria Kaika, Roger Keil, Tait Mandler and Yannis Tzaninis (org.), Turning up the Heat: Urban political ecology for a climate emergency. Manchester: Manchester University Press, Ch. 16


Calvário, Rita & Castro, Irina (2022). "A questão alimentar em Portugal: (des)encontros entre políticas públicas, alternativas alimentares cidadãs e a agricultura familiar", Análise Social, lvii (3.º), 2022 (n.º 244), pp. 570-593. DOI: 10.31447/as00032573.2022244.06

Abstract: The food issue in Portugal: (dis)encounters between public policies, citizen food alternatives and family farming. How has the food issue evolved in Portugal and what are the potentialities and challenges for the construction of fairer, healthier and more sustainable food systems? This article addresses these questions by analysing the convergences and divergences between (i) government discourses and public policies around food, (ii) the alternative food networks developed by civil society and local power, and (iii) the proposals and initiatives of the organized family farming sector. It concludes that there is broad interest in the country for the issue of food transition, but that the social and environmental justice dimension is still largely missing.

Calvário, Rita (2022). "The making of peasant subalternity in Portugal: histories of marginalisation and resistance to agrarian modernisation", he Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2021.2020256

Abstract: This paper examines how marginalised, small-scale family farmers have been facing the difficulties of agrarian modernisation in Portugal. Central to the history of contemporary peasants in this country is their continuous subordination to the power of agrarian capital and landed elites. But subaltern peasants have mobilised, particularly through CNA, a Vía Campesina member organisation, to build an oppositional project, not without tensions. The article argues that a Gramscian notion of subalternity offers a powerful lens to analyse the links between agrarian change, conflict and resistance for its focus on uneven power relations and by emphasising the centrality of social struggle.

Velicu, Irina & Orgrezeanu, Andreea  (2022). "Quiet no more: The emergence of food justice and sovereignty in Romania". Journal of Rural Studies, 89, 122-129. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.11.024

Abstract: How do peasants assert food justice and sovereignty in Eastern Europe? How do their food practices connect with broader political conflicts and movements? Most scholarship on food and agriculture in this region describes small-scale farming as a ‘quiet’ - apolitical and unpurposeful - contribution to sustainability. This paper aims to expand the ‘quiet sustainability’ thesis by theoretically building on food justice and sovereignty theories. Since sustainability cannot be achieved without confronting the structures that reproduce oppression, food sovereignty – as the right of people to define their own agro-food systems – should be seen as a precondition for both greater justice and sustainability. Drawing on the case of a peasant association from Romania, Eco Ruralis, member of the European Coordination Via Campesina, we argue that peasants are not just ‘quietly’ contributing to sustainability but rather have been historically and systemically silenced and marginalized by various regimes of power. As testimonies show, such alternative practices are continuously devalued, threatened and marginalized but peasants also seek to re-politicize food. We posit that a movement for food justice and sovereignty is emerging in former socialist Eastern Europe, characterized by embeddedness within transnational movements against extractivism and efforts to reclaim the dignity of being a peasant.

Velicu, Irina & Orgrezeanu, Andreea (2021). "Justitie si Suveranitate Alimentara in Romania. Asociatia Taranesca Eco Ruralis", in Bruma, I and Vasiliu C. (Eds.), Provocari rurale contemporane. Studii de agro-economie si antropologia rurala (pp.85-97). Cluj-Napoca: Presa Universitara Clujeana.

Edwards, F.; Pedro, Sérgio; Rocha S. (2020). "Institutionalising degrowth: Exploring multi-level food governance", in Nelson A., and  Edwards F. (Eds.), Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices. London: Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9781003004820

Abstract: There is growing recognition that radical, long-term change is required to address inherent issues in the industrial food system. New principles and practices are needed to create fair, sustainable and healthy food approaches. Actions for degrowth often begin at the grassroots, grounded in everyday actions that promote just and sustainable alternatives. However, limited resources often result in actions with bounded geographical reach and lifespan. Formal efforts to address food insecurity and sustainability by governments, NGOs and corporations have benefits, offering legitimacy and visibility by providing resources, institutionalisation and legislation. However, large-scale approaches often lack transversality, overlooking important local concerns and needs. This chapter explores multilevel governance approaches that bring together bottom-up and top-down approaches to foster engaged and enduring food alternatives. Strategies of cross-sector platforms, methods of convergence and the role of municipalities are examined in two projects: the Portuguese rights to food nutrition network AlimentAção! that promotes sustainable and healthy local food projects, and EdiCitNet, a food sustainability network that supports the uptake of innovative and inclusive urban food practices. This chapter contributes to sustainable food literature and practice by examining key junctures across different levels of governance to sustain healthy and just degrowth alternatives for transformative change.

Velicu, Irina & Barca, Stefania (2020) "The Just Transition and its work of inequality, Sustainability", Science, Practice and Policy, 16:1, 263-273, DOI: 10.1080/15487733.2020.1814585

Abstract: Changing our relation to the environment in a democratic way implies questioning models and methods of socioecological relations—including work relations. This article critically discusses the notion of a “just transition” toward democratic sustainability as developed at the intersection between climate justice and labor politics. We invite an expansion of ideas of socioenvironmental and labor justice based on Jacques Rancière’s “method of (in)equality,” which problematizes justice theories and the politics of identitarian-group recognition. Our argument is that since both ecological and social crises are produced via inequalities a just transition can be a transition out of the logic of unequal relations—rather than just out of fossil fuels. We posit that socioecological justice in political action can be based on the assumption of equality, the “scandalous” democratic principle according to which political agency belongs to subjects without them having to prove any particular subjectivity worthy of recognition. We thus invite connecting sustainability discourses with a critique of the processes through which subjects become subaltern in the first place, being ascribed unequal positions mostly via violent means such as dispossession and subordination.

Calvário, Rita; Desmarais, A.; Azkarraga, J. (2020) "Solidarities from Below in the Making of Emancipatory Rural Politics: Insights from Food Sovereignty Struggles in the Basque Country", Sociologia Ruralis, 60, 857-879. DOI: 10.1111/soru.12264

Abstract: Exclusionary and regressive politics are on the rise globally. How do food sovereignty struggles help counter these forces? We ground our analysis on how EHNE‐Bizkaia, a Vía Campesina member organisation in the Basque Country, conceptualises and practices food sovereignty. Inspired by Massey’s ‘politics of place beyond place’ and Featherstone’s work on left politics and solidarity, we shed light on the ways that this organisation mobilises food sovereignty to establish political bonds between those marginalised by neo‐liberalism, helping to construct political identities and enact forms of subaltern agency that challenge uneven power relations and geographies. We argue that ‘solidarity from below’ is key in building an emancipatory rural politics rooted in class‐based alliances, intersectionality, and internationalism as well as non‐exclusionary notions of sovereignty. The article provides theoretical and empirical insights on what constitutes an emancipatory politics of food sovereignty that has the potential to act as a counterforce to right‐wing populism.

Velicu, Irina (2019) "Prospective environmental injustice: insights from anti-mining struggles in Romania and Bulgaria", Environmental Politics, DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2019.1611178

Abstract: The concept of prospective environmental (in)justice (PEJ) is proposed to make sense of situations in which development proposals and the actions of state and market actors create injustices even before the development projects become a material reality. Through this concept and its application to two cases of opencast gold-mining, a broader conceptualization of socio-environmental (in)justice is invited that considers multiple forms of injustice of rural communities in Romania and Bulgaria during more than a decade of waiting for the ‘actual harm’ of mining to happen. The mere prospects of opencast gold-mining have, in fact, shed light on deep-seated and ongoing dimensions of socio-environmental injustice such as, land-grabbing, slow community disappearance and marginalization, daily psychological damage, disavowal of alternatives and disqualification as political subjects. These injustices experienced collectively could be seen as constitutive moments of systemic violence.

Velicu, Irina (2019) "De-growing environmental justice: Reflections from anti-mining movements in Eastern Europe", Ecological Economics, 159, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.01.021

Abstract: While the critique to economic growth is quintessential in the degrowth scholarship, one may observe a similar focus in various environmental justice movements around the world. This is particularly visible when it comes to the increasing perception that mega-development projects are both unjust and unsustainable, threatening the survival of people and environments. In this paper, we illustrate this focus by looking at two anti-mining movements in Eastern Europe (EE): Save Rosia Montana (Romania) and Krumovgrad (Bulgaria). The local movements describe open cast mining (even in the prospective phase) as potential destruction of basic sources of life (material commons such as water or crops, and community relations). The paper emphasizes a dynamic involved in doing environmental justice, or ‘de-growing EJ’: affected communities organize themselves by ‘staying in place’, producing alternative economies, organizing local democratic institutions. What potentially ´´grows´´ here, is a societal imaginary of justice on how to reproduce the socio-ecological conditions of life by protecting and re-defining traditional means of production and grassroots practices, knowledge, wealth, and values.


Articole științifice de la consultanții noștri

Cosma, V.S., Ban, C., Gabor, D. (2020). "The Human Cost of Fresh Food: Romanian Workers and Germany’s Food Supply Chains". Review of Agrarian Studies, 10(2).

Abstract: Fresh food supply chains in Europe’s transnational agribusinesses depend on cheap, non-unionised, and privately managed labour from low-wage eastern European countries. The costs versus benefits of this phenomenon are under-studied. By examining seasonal farm migration from Romania to Germany, we argue that the Covid-19 pandemic is, for farmworkers, a Janus-faced event. On the one hand, it has worsened the precarity of migrant farmworkers. Changes in the German state’s pay legislation that excluded workers from social benefits, and the reluctance of the German state to enforce labour legislation to the full in the early stages of the pandemic sharpened what we have termed the structural disempowerment of migrant farmworkers. Romanian seasonal workers have had little choice but to implicitly subsidise the costs of German farm products. At the same time, the health crisis has made their work visible and led to processes that challenge the perception of migrant workers as passive agents. In this regard we refer specifically to (i) the supportive media coverage in Romania, Germany, and beyond and (ii) the assertion of union-affiliated farm and abattoir labour activism in Germany. These planted seeds of contestation, and collective action against abuses sprang up in several farms. Combined with a flare-up of Covid-19 in German abattoirs in the summer of 2020, these campaigns for visibility and improved working conditions led the German government to alter legislation so as to better protect seasonal labour in the fresh vegetable and meat sectors. Going forward, the tension between these two opposing sociopolitical drivers may shape the governance of seasonal labour in Europe.