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Food Fights in Europe: Contentious Food Politics Over Time

Fri, November 8, 3:45 to 5:15pm, Wyndham Philadelphia Hotel, Floor: Lobby Level, Hancock


This paper examines contentious food politics in Europe to explore the changing nature of food riots/protests and their relationship to welfare and agricultural policy. While scholars have explored the dynamics by which food protests occur, less attention has been paid to the results of these protests. In particular this paper considers the changes over time in the nature of contentious food politics from the food riots of the 17th and 18th century to the farmer protests of today by using data from a new database on global agricultural protest events, which thes e authors have created. This paper argues that contentious food politics had and continues to have an important role to play in policy-making: first, by creating the normative expectation that the government would provide subsistence help, which laid the groundwork for the welfare state; and second, by forcing the EU to maintain a policy of agricultural exceptionalism, which has corresponding effects on the European welfare state. Thus, this paper challenges and deepens the conventional understanding of the origins of the welfare state and demands that scholars expand their conceptual understanding of the welfare state.