Peasant activism and the rise of food sovereignty: Decolonising and democratising norm diffusion?

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‘Food sovereignty’ emerged from grassroots peasant mobilisations, and has been spread globally by a democratically organised social movement,la Vía Campesina. This process has seen food sovereignty influence global political discourse, transform national constitutions and be incorporated into a proposed United Nations declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. By examining the role of grassroots actors in the global South in the construction of this emerging global norm, I militate against tendencies of West-centrism and elitism in existing literature on the contemporary diffusion of norms. By also discussing the potential marginalisation of grassroots peasant voices in recent United Nations discussions, I suggest that these elitist and West-centric tendencies may also exist in the norm diffusion process itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-167
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Sage in European Journal of International Relations on 04/11/2015, available online, doi: 10.1177/1354066115614382


  • Democracy
  • Eurocentrism
  • human rights
  • norms
  • resistance
  • United Nations


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