A Definition of Politics

The political is defined as a social domain that emphasizes practices and meanings associated with basic issues of social power as they pertain to the organization, authorization, legitimation and regulation of a social life held-in-common.

The parameters of this area thus extend beyond the conventional sense of politics to include social relations in general. They cross the public/private divide, itself in formal terms a modern construct. The key related concept here is a ‘social life held-in-common’. While it is true that not everything that is done in the private or public realm is political just because it may have possible consequences for issues of the organization, authorization, legitimation and regulation of a social life held-in-common, where questions of power are directly involved in a pattern of practices or set of meanings this is political.

This has profound consequences for thinking about the politics of food. It means that politics involves much more than the activities of governments, and the politics of food concerns us all. Each of the aspects below were developed to describe the political human condition in general. By addressing each and all of these aspects in relation to the politics of food, we begin to comprehend the complexity of all food systems.

Perspectives and Aspects of Politics

  1. Organization and Governance
    1. Legitimacy and Respect
    2. Leadership and Agency
    3. Planning and Vision
    4. Administration and Bureaucracy
    5. Authority and Sovereignty
    6. Transparency and Clarity
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  2. Law and Justice
    1. Rights and Rules
    2. Order and Civility
    3. Obligations and Responsibilities
    4. Impartiality and Equality
    5. Fairness and Prudence
    6. Judgement and Penalty
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  3. Communication and Critique
    1. Interchange and Expression
    2. News and Information
    3. Accessibility and Openness
    4. Opinion and Analysis
    5. Dissent and Protest
    6. Privacy and Respect
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  4. Representation and Negotiation
    1. Agency and Advocacy
    2. Participation and Inclusion
    3. Democracy and Liberty
    4. Access and Consultation
    5. Civility and Comity
    6. Contestation and Standing
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  5. Security and Accord
    1. Human Security and Defence
    2. Safety and Support
    3. Personal and Domestic Security
    4. Protection and Shelter
    5. Refuge and Sanctuary
    6. Insurance and Assurance
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  6. Dialogue and Reconciliation
    1. Process and Recognition
    2. Truth and Verity
    3. Mediation and Intercession
    4. Trust and Faith
    5. Remembrance and Redemption
    6. Reception and Hospitality
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  7. Ethics and Accountability
    1. Principles and Protocols
    2. Obligation and Responsibility
    3. Integrity and Virtue
    4. Observance and Visibility
    5. Prescription and Contention
    6. Acquittal and Consequence
    7. Monitoring and Reflection

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