Voluntary standards, certification, and accreditation in the global organic agriculture field: a tripartite model of techno-politics

Abstract : This article analyzes the institutionalization of the global organic agriculture field and sheds new light on the conventionalization debate. The institutions that shape the field form a tripartite standards regime of governance (TSR) that links standard-setting, certification, and accreditation activities, in a layering of markets for services that are additional to (and inseparable from) the market for certified organic products. At each of the three poles of the TSR, i.e., for standard-setting, certification, and accreditation, we describe how the corresponding markets were constructed over time and the role of the different actors in their evolution. We analyze the politics at stake among the actors at each pole, their competing or cooperative interests and visions, and the tensions between them in the promotion of markets. Through the lens of the TSR heuristic, we show that the institutionalization of the organic field beginning in the 1990s and its de facto inclusion in the broader sustainability field beginning in the 2000s contribute to a progressive distancing between the organic movement and its initial political project of alterity, to which public and private actors both contribute actively. As a set of interlinked market institutions, the TSR orients and narrows the scope of debate, which becomes restricted to “market-compatible” dimensions and objects. We conclude that the TSR is a promising heuristic for analyzing contemporary global regulation.
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Journal articles
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Submitted on : Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 8:15:56 PM
Last modification on : Monday, November 18, 2019 - 3:22:43 PM

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Eve Fouilleux, Allison Marie Loconto. Voluntary standards, certification, and accreditation in the global organic agriculture field: a tripartite model of techno-politics. Agriculture and Human Values, Springer Verlag, 2017, 34 (1), pp.1-14. ⟨10.1007/s10460-016-9686-3⟩. ⟨hal-01281259⟩

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