• La Via Campesina and the Committee on World Food Security: a transnational public sphere? Identifying and interrogating dynamics of power and voice in transnational food and agricultural policy processes.

      Chesters, Graeme S.; Brem-Wilson, Joshua W. (University of BradfordDepartment of Peace Studies, 2013-11-22)
      The transnationalisation of economic relations and the emergence of supranational sites of policy-making and governance have been of concern both to ¿affected publics¿ subject to the remote decisionmaking that such developments entail (and who have mobilised extensively to demonstrate their opposition to these bodies), and scholars keen to locate the possibilities for a democratic politics in the context of the state¿s subsequent diminishment (O¿Brien et al., 2000; Scholte, 2001; Patomäki and Teivainen, 2004; Rittberger et al., 2008). One such group of scholars are public sphere theorists, who, taking up an ongoing concern with the conditions for, and criteria of, effective democratic participation in politically authoritative policy debates, and responding to these new dynamics, have begun to define a new research agenda in search of ¿transnational public spheres¿ (Habermas, 1989; Fraser, 1991; Fraser 2007). That is, they have begun to look to the transnational for sites in which those affected by the exercise (or, indeed, absence) of political authority at this level strive to engage that authority in policy debate. In this thesis, I argue for the existence of one such transnational public sphere, which, being both provoked and constituted by the transnational peasant and small farmers social movement La Via Campesina, promises to be institutionally realised by the recently reformed United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS). Identifying and exploring key dynamics relevant to the CFS¿s aspirations for political centrality, inclusivity, and policy debate, moreover, I lay bare the challenges that confront the attainment of this promise.