Version 3.2_September 2016

Individual Paper: Real Food Utopias: solidarity and economic democracy in Greece

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Since 2008, European political elites have deepened the democratic deficit in an effort to keep neoliberalism alive. Greece especially has experienced harsh economic conditions and political coercion. With growing inequality, people have joined in solidarity to deal with the sudden and severe rise in food poverty. In our highly unequal and inefficient agri-food system, grassroots food movements are reshaping food systems and calling for food sovereignty (Patel, 2010). Using ideas of ‘real utopias’ (Wright, 2010), this paper looks at degrowth’s aim to ‘fundamentally rework capitalism’s institutions and imaginaries’ (Kallis, 2011), strengthening concepts in degrowth which converge with those in food sovereignty: economic democracy through decentralised decision-making and movement building. In the context of crisis-ridden Greece, fresh debates of social and political organisation are taking place and subjectivities are being transformed. Where economic democracy features in endeavours to create new food economies, we get insights into how, and with what difficulties, self-organised groups working horizontally with one another form human relationships. This activist-academic inquiry uses the methods of participatory video. Initially, participatory mapping of ‘diverse economies’ (Gibson-Graham, 2006) across Thessaloniki show that multiple economies exist in the territory, which evade, resist or subvert capitalist tendencies. We then look at the transformative potential across the agri-food system by facilitating the social relations of a range of actors in the filmmaking process. This creates a dialogue between actors to find common ground and shared strategies.


Day: 2016-09-02
Start time: 11:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: 301
Track: New democracy new institutions