The Politics of Food - Introducing food sovereignty in Bolivia

Rebecca Lynge & Sabrina Meersohn Meinecke

Studenteropgave: Speciale


Amidst food shortages, environmental degradation, and increasing commodification of food, Food Sovereignty has emerged as a response to the globalization of food systems, demanding the rights of peoples to control their own food and agricultural policies. In 2009, food sovereignty was introduced in Bolivia’s new constitution. This thesis investigates the Bolivian interpretation of food sovereignty and the challenges related to its on-going implementation. We base our analysis on Bolivia’s legal framework and qualitative empirical material from a series of self-conducted interviews. Our results show that because definitions of concepts correlate with purpose, the concept of food sovereignty is susceptible to various interpretations. We find that while the Bolivian government in its legal discourse has committed to principles broadly pertaining to Food Sovereignty, as it has been introduced by the organization Vía Campesina, its actual policies reflect the objective of national self-sufficiency more akin to the simpler and more technical concept of food security. This creates conflicts of interest that ultimately cause current implementation to be in favour of agri-business and consumers, as opposed to small-scale farmers and the production of native products. We argue that this is a consequence of the Bolivian government’s conventional nation-bound perception of sovereignty, effectively yielding a reconstituted neoliberal development model, an unwillingness to relinquish power and recognize indigenous sovereignties, and, finally, a reliance on simplification in the implementing of policies.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato4 nov. 2013


  • food sovereignty
  • Bolivia