The Claws of the Land: Capitalism-Law Collusion in the Corporate Food Regime

Authors: Hannah Kass*, University of Wisconsin
Topics: Legal Geography, Food Systems, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: food regimes, critical legal geography, neoliberalism, food sovereignty
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 40
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this paper, I add a legal spatiotemporal lens to the food regime literature in rural sociology. Rather than conceptualizing the corporate food regime as mainly an international-scale neoliberalization of the agri-food political economy, I argue that the corporate food regime has historically unfolded in particular, jurisdictionally-dependent places and times. To make this argument, I develop the concept of “the Claw” -- capitalism and the law merged as one organism, inseparably exerting corporate food regime power. Rather than solely a world-ecology of neoliberal capitalist agri-food production, I argue that the corporate food regime also manifests as a series of Claws -- capitalist laws with historical legacies of interpretation tied to specific legal places and spaces. To demonstrate this claim, I identify and analyze three Claws in the United States context: The Constitution, antitrust, and the Farm Bill. In conclusion, I discuss pathways for challenging the Claws to enhance food sovereignty.

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