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Ep37: Philip McMichael on the "Corporate food regime"

Episode summary

What is the corporate food regime? And are we still living in it? We put these questions to our guest Philip McMichael, emeritus professor at Cornell University who, alongside Harriet Friedman, coined the term Food Regime in 1989. In our conversation we talk about how a historical sociologist thinks about power, what voices were included and excluded in the dialogues leading up to the UN Food Systems Summit, and we flesh out Philip’s view of what a more relocalized food system would look like.

[ Transcript available ]


About Philip McMichael

Philip McMichael is a Professor Emeritus of Global Development, formerly of the Department of Development Sociology, which he chaired in 1999-2005, and in 2014-2015.

Trained as a historical sociologist, Philip’s research focuses on questions of development and social change, and agri-food structuring and restructuring of the modern world, from international political economy and political ecology perspectives. His popular textbook, Development & Social Change: A Global Perspective (Sage), uses what he calls development and globalization ‘projects’ and a potential sustainability project to understand the history and possible future of world ordering and reordering.

Philip McMichael works with the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism, which is part of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security.


Related resources

TABLE essay: Aid, structural reforms or empowerment: Assessing diverse interventions to abate food crises in Southern Africa (Rejoice Chipuriro, 2022)

Article: UN Food Systems Summit 2021: Dismantling Democracy and Resetting Corporate Control of Food Systems (Matthew Canfield, Molly Anderson and Philip McMichael, 2021)

Textbook: Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective 7th edition (Philip McMichael and Heloise Weber, 2021)

Report: The Long Food Movement (IPES and ETC group, 2021)

Book: Seeds of power (Amalia Leguizamón, 2020)

Book: Perilous Bounty (Tom Philpott, 2020)

Book: Food Regimes and Agrarian Questions (Philip McMichael, 2013)

Book: Sweetness and Power (Sidney Mintz, 1986)


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