ENP-31806 Globalization and Sustainability of Food Production and Consumption


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
One day excursion4
Individual Paper
Literature study
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
dr. AMG Arce
prof. dr. ir. JSC Wiskerke
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 introduces key concepts for the understanding of recent changes in food provision, their consequences and possible responses. These 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 emergence of new social and ecological movements, 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 labeling, are discussed. In order to provide additional clarification on the role of alternative supply chains, a half-day field visit is included to visit farms involved in organic food production, integrated in short food supply chains.

Learning outcomes:

- students know the basic aspects of global food production and consumption and the essential role of food networks;
- students have insight in the process of globalization and its impacts of food production and consumption. They are able to apply the selected theories of globalization and regionalization to explain contemporary developments of food provision worldwide. They are able to relate issues of globalization to shifts in international trade regimes and in environmental regimes (e.g. ecolabels);
- students can explain the main differences between a producer and a consumer orientation in the organization of food networks. They can indicate the main consequences of a shift to consumer orientation;
- students have insight in central environmental aspects of food networks. They can relate these aspects to the rise of the ecological movement, to the concepts of risk and trust, and to the theory of ecological modernization.


Lectures are followed by a session where literature is discussed. Students are required to attend the lectures, read the scheduled literature and participate in the discussion sessions. The course includes one 1/2 day excursion. Students are required to do a special assignment.


The final mark will be based on a written exam and on the special assignment.


A detailed course guide including references to literature is available at the Environmental Policy Group.

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