Neo-liberal Discourse and the Food Crisis
Jutel, Olivier Christian
The world food crisis of 2008 presented the neo-liberal development model with one of its sharpest challenges since the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s. The impacts of agricultural market liberalization, the retrenchment of state supports in developing countries and the increasing presence of transnational corporations (TNCs) in the global food trade, appear largely negative in the face of increasing food insecurity for the world’s poor. Massive social unrest across much of the developing world forced world leaders, international institutions and the global media to take stock of the systemic crises. This thesis is concerned with, gauging the ability of neo-liberal discourse to respond to the challenge of the food crisis, and tracking the political formations that emerge from the media event of this disaster spectacle. In undertaking this task I will firstly lay out a brief sketch of the development of neo- liberalism across the developing world and its impact on agricultural production. Political Economy of the Media in combination with Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) are utilized as a means to identify discursive formations, the hierarchy of actors and the particular political trajectory to come out of the crisis. This research identifies a central casual structure of economism/urgency/new consensus, which manages to simulate radical self-reflexivity and openness, while securing the further expansion of neo-liberalism. While the financial crisis of neo-liberalism, that followed the food crisis, has lead some, such as Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, to pronounce the death of neo-liberalism, this research demonstrates the supple re-configurations that sustain the project in the face of systemic collapse.
Advisor: Craig, Geoffrey
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Political Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis