David Nally: 'Against Food Security'

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - 16:00 to 17:30
Rocque Lab, Rhetoric Building

David Nally
Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.

Against Food Security: On Forms of Care and Fields of Violence

This paper addresses recent changes to the policy landscape on global food security. It argues that a new consensus is emerging on how to tackle (or more hubristically ‘end’) global hunger and spur agricultural development. The consensus I speak of is evident in recent briefings by the World Economic Forum (especially its ‘New Vision for Agriculture’), the ‘New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition,’ initiated by the G-8 (now G-7), the Grow Africa network, the US government’s ‘Feed the Future’ programme, the philanthropy-led, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, not to mention the many flagship reports emanating from the International Financial Institutions as well key statements from global food retailers and leading agribusinesses. The paper argues that this ‘new vision’ for global agriculture is deeply problematic. Indeed the projected ‘solutions’ – in so far as they aim to radically transform agricultural life, especially in Africa – may well cause more harm than good. Or to put this argument more forcefully: what today is commonly called ‘food security’ is perhaps better seen as a way of subjugating the poor under the pretense of doing them good.

David Nally lectures in Geography at the University of Cambridge and is the author of Human Encumbrances: Political Violence and the Great Irish Famine (University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 2011). He is currently working on issues of food security and international philanthropy. Everybody welcome. For more details please contact gerry.kearns@mu.ie