Food Regimes

André Magnan

in The Oxford Handbook of Food History

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199729937
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Food Regimes


A major challenge for food scholars is how they can explain the evolution of a global food system where distant social actors, ecologies, and places have complex, and often contradictory, relations. In particular, scholars face the difficult task of providing an account of food system change that is at once theoretically sophisticated, historically grounded, and holistic in its perspective. A leading example of this type of approach is food regimes analysis, which is anchored in historical political economy. The food regimes approach views agriculture and food in relation to the development of capitalism on a global scale, and argues that social change is brought about by struggles among social movements, capital, and states. The concept of food regimes was introduced by Harriet Friedmann and Philip McMichael in an article in which they addressed the changing role of food and agriculture in the development of global capitalism since 1870. Food regimes analysis combines two strands of macro-sociological theory: regulationism and world-systems theory. This article examines the theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions of food regimes analysis, and looks at some of the latest developments in food regime theorizing and research.

Keywords: food regimes; agriculture; food; capitalism; social change; Harriet Friedmann; Philip McMichael; macro-sociological theory; regulationism; world-systems theory

Article.  8614 words. 

Subjects: History ; World History

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