ENP-31806 Globalization and Sustainability of Food Production and Consumption


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work8
Excursion (one day)5
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
dr. AMG Arce
EJ Veen
Examiner(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
prof. dr. ir. JSC Wiskerke
dr. AMG Arce

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Basic sociological theory.


This course allows students to acquire in-depth understanding of recent changes in food provision, their consequences and possible responses. Introduced concepts include globalization and regionalization, global flows of goods, food and values, agro-food networks. Illustrated with concrete cases the transition from supply-side (productivist) to demand-side (consumption) orientation in food provision and the shifting patterns of production and consumption are discussed, as well as the growing importance of consumption styles and consumer concerns in attributing new values to food.
The recent consumer involvement is highlighted by looking at the growing attention for environmental aspects of food, food risks and consumer trust. Finally, the globalization of trade and regulatory regimes and the increasing attention to (tools for) monitoring, certification and labelling, are discussed. In order to provide additional clarification on the role of alternative supply chains, a field visit is included.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the basic concepts for analysing contemporary modes of producing and consuming food, including globalization, sustainability, food regimes, (global) food networks, food cultures;
- appraise the contradictory shifts in contemporary food provisioning with respect to the wider societal changes of globalization and promotion of sustainability and in particular the global - local dynamics;
- apply the basic concepts when explaining trends in contemporary food provision, including the shifting roles of producers and consumers, the emergence of environmental regimes, the introduction of eco-labels, shifting diets, and the growth in alternative, local food supply systems and urban agriculture.
- assess concrete proposals put forward to solve the sustainability problems resulting from the globalization of food and thereby distinguish intended from unintended consequences;
- analyse and appraise scientific articles that represent contradictory positions in present debates on globalization and sustainability in food production and consumption.


Lectures are combined with tutorials where literature is discussed. Students are required to attend the lectures, read the scheduled literature and participate in the tutorials. The course include a one day excursion. Students are required to do a special assignment in small groups.


- written exam with open questions (65%);
- individual assignment (paper: 35%).
To pass each component requires a minimum of 5.0.


A course outline will be available.

Compulsory for: BINInternational Development StudiesBScA: Sociology of Development4WD
Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScB: Consumer and Market4WD
MIDInternational Development StudiesMScA: Sociology of Development4WD
Compulsory for: WUSACBSc Minor Sustainable Agriculture and Consumption4WD