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Pursuing Sustainability in Food Systems through Womanism and Community Development: Family Farmers Cooperative in Northeast Brazil


Pursuing Sustainability in Food Systems through Womanism and Community Development: Family Farmers Cooperative in Northeast Brazil

Nunes Dantas, Monica ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2134-6380 (2022) Pursuing Sustainability in Food Systems through Womanism and Community Development: Family Farmers Cooperative in Northeast Brazil. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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This manuscript-format thesis examines the sustainability of local food systems and the potential for community development in Brazil’s the Rio Grande do Norte (RN) State. Participatory action research (PAR) methodology was adopted to map the conditions, issues, and possibilities within family farming and the social solidarity economy initiative, the Xique-Xique Network (RXX). Primary data from participant observation and semi-structured interviews complement the indicator-based assessment grounded on the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) indicators. The first manuscript shows how family farming suffers from systemic problems, such as insufficient support from public institutions, conditions imposed by the influence of agribusiness biases, lack of basic infrastructure, discouraging regulations, lack of capital, limited access to credit, environmental problems, the negative image associated with family farming and difficulty accessing modern technologies. The second manuscript highlights the ways academic documentation and communication could positively contribute. The third manuscript investigates the conceptualization of food using a semiotic analysis to understand the notion of food in mainstream media, including an analysis of “Google Images.” The study found that mainstream media’s portrayal or suggested meaning influences food conceptualization. Also, there was a discrepancy between the portrayed images and their respective concepts, such as the idealized agribusiness notion of a thriving food system. The oversimplified views of different food systems influence food choices by either promoting or obstructing the development of food systems. The fourth manuscript concentrates on integrating sustainability aspects into gender and social norms. The findings show how social norms permeate sustainability practices. It also suggests that the farmer’s approaches regarding education and their vision for societal transformation were a reflex to their experience with the landless workers’ movement. The study further identifies several gaps to address and boost the involvement of farming women. However, the narrative analysis revealed that the RXX praxis actively promotes positive gender dynamics in multidimensional ways. Women are in positions of leadership and prioritize childcare to warrant their inclusion. The last manuscript proposes a sustainable food systems model that emerged from the integrated praxis of womanism, agroecology, and solidarity. This model is centred on a joined view of sustainability, local social norms, and gender dynamics. It presents unique drivers and distinctive ways to express the usually disjoining aspects of sustainability in food systems.

Divisions:Concordia University > Concordia University Press
Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > School of Community and Public Affairs
Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Nunes Dantas, Monica
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:12 July 2022
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ikeda, Satoshi and Mendell, Marguerite and Nash, Alan
Keywords:Sociology of food, sustainable development, social solidarity economy, gender in agriculture, family farming, gender policies, Northeast Brazil, women farmer, womanism.
ID Code:991136
Deposited By: Monica Nunes Dantas
Deposited On:27 Oct 2022 14:31
Last Modified:27 Oct 2022 14:31


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