Competing Interests and Power Dynamics in the Transition towards Circular Agriculture

No Thumbnail Available
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The Dutch government has recently announced a new vision for the Dutch agriculture sector, in which they plead for a transition of the food system towards a system based on circular agriculture principles. Transitions require a shift in the institutions and structures that prescribe how the current system operates. The processes in which such a change occurs involves multiple actors with diverse interests and visions, making transitions a power-laden process. To overcome this problem, transitions require a transformation of the power relations. This study aims to understand how actors with diverging interests use their power to reach their particular goals and how the power relations between the involved actors influence the transition. Although transition scholars acknowledge that transitions are power-laden processes, the role of power in agri-food transitions has received little attention. Furthermore, by gaining insights into the power dynamics, potential downfalls of the transition can be identified. In order to analyse the power dynamics, the Multi-Level Power-in-Transition framework developed by Avelino (2011) is used. This framework is suitable for interpretative and qualitative analysis to describe, deconstruct, and discuss how the power constellations influence the transition and how actors (try to) exercise power to impact the transition process. The data is gathered through interviews with stakeholders involved in the transition. The results show that the current power relations impede the actors in favour of the transition to exercise power to reach their goals. Although certain acts of power are observed that could potentially lead to a transformation of the power relations, further attempts to transform the power relations are required to initiate the transition process.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen