The biennial German Geography Congress (Deutscher Kongress für Geography, DKG) is the most important geography conference in Germany. For more information please visit the website (Note: in German only).
Abstracts need to be submitted directly through the conference website on or before January 25, 2019. You need to provide a title (max. 160 characters), a short abstract (max. 200 characters) and a full abstract (max. 2,500 characters). Papers will be selected based on a review by session organizers. Authors will be notified about the status of their submission by the end of March 2019, registration will start April 1st 2019
Digitization, “big data” and advanced analytics profoundly reshape the way the food chain operates, opening up new spaces of legibility, control, and value extraction at every node of it. Among others, this includes the proliferation of smart and precision farming technologies at the point of production, the implementation of blockchain technologies that enable buyers to trace their ordered products in real time across the wholefood chain, or the production and harnessing of unseen volumes of consumer data by (online) retailers and other actors interested in selling “stuff”, or the information related to it. Such changes are likely to result in new geographies of food chains.
While industry players have celebrated these various moments of digitally induced food chain transformation under banners such as agriculture 4.0 or the smart food chain, critics have voiced concerns. These concerns relate to the monetization and commodification of various forms of data along the food supply chain, raising issues of data sovereignty; the spread of oligopolistic practices of a few key data brokers known from other domains of the agtech economy; and the potential for capital to intensify the control over, and extraction of, value from labour and nature.
The aim of this session is to critically interrogate the risks and opportunities that lie within digital food futures. We invite proposals for papers addressing (but not limited to) one or more of the following aspects of the “digital revolution” across the food chain:
– Smart farming, precision farming, and drone farming
– Blockchain technologies and their impact on supply chain management, logistics, and producer-consumer relations
– Silicon Valley goes farming: the rise of AG tech focused venture capital and private equity
– The tendency for oligopolization in data-based domains of the economy
– The implications of digital technologies and automation for labour and nature
– Issues of big data and data sovereignty
– Environmental footprint management
– Emergence of closed/privatized versus open/open source platforms
– The changing spatiality, sociality and materiality of digital food chains
– Entry points for digital political activism and a radicalization of food futures
Stream: Geography and Global Change
Short Abstract: The need to transform current agri-food systems towards more sustainable pathways is widely acknowledged amongst experts. But how do those alternative approaches differ in theory and practice?
Full Abstract:Academic, governmental, civic and economic stakeholders alike stress the necessity and urgency to change the dominant agri-food regime. Seminal publications to that effect include, amongst other, the 2008 IAASTD world agriculture report “Agriculture at a Crossroads” or the final report by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (2014). They paint an alarming picture of present agricultural systems and related global value chains. They warn us that “business as usual is not an option” if we want to reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods and human health, and achieve environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development for all.
At the same time, we find an increasingly complex landscape of “alternative food” approaches, ranging from various organic standards / certification systems, and terms such as organic or biodynamic farming, permaculture, agroecology, ecological intensification to an emphasis on community supported agriculture (CSA), fair trade, urban agriculture, seasonality, local and regional food and more.
The increasing attention paid to alternative agri-food systems in academic and public debates offers new opportunities but also raises new questions for agri-food geographies. For this session, we invite theoretical / conceptual papers – possibly also empirically grounded and/ or including regional comparisons – that engage with but are not limited to one or more of the following questions:
• How can we define “alterity” with regard to agriculture and food systems? Which formalised (e.g. standards) and non-formalised approaches of “alternative“ agri-food systems exist? In what way do they differ from each other?
• What are paradigms and phases of the debate? Which approaches and terms have been most successful, under which specific conditions, and in which contexts? How can we explain this? To what extent do these approaches complement and reinforce each other, how far do they compete with or contradict each other?
• How can these approaches, which are generally developed in very specific geographical and societal contexts, be translated into other languages and transferred to other geographical locations? Which challenges does this imply? Are comparisons possible and/or reasonable?
• In what ways do changing relationships and understandings of urbanity and rurality play a role in these “alternative“ systems?