Date of Award
Level of Access
Master of Arts (MA)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
This thesis studies the discourse of food sovereignty in Maine, a coalition of small-scale farmers, consumers, and citizens building an alternative food system based on a distributed form of production, processing, selling, purchasing, and consumption. This distribution occurs at the municipal level through the enactment of ordinances. Using critical-rhetorical field methods, I argue that the discourse of food sovereignty in Maine develops a ‘constitutive’ rhetoric that composes rural society through affective relationships. Advocates engage the industrial food system to both expose its systemic bias against small-scale farming and construct their own discourse of belonging. Based upon agrarian values such as interrelatedness, secular grace, and trust, food sovereignty proposes a vernacular law by which to regulate local food systems. Advocates perform a ‘grassroots diplomacy’ to gain access to the decision-making process and to create space for themselves within the existing regulatory structure.
Welton, John, "Grassroots Diplomacy and Vernacular Law: The Discourse of Food Sovereignty in Maine" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2686.
American Politics Commons, Civic and Community Engagement Commons, Community-Based Learning Commons, Community-Based Research Commons, Critical and Cultural Studies Commons, Discourse and Text Linguistics Commons, Environmental Policy Commons, Environmental Studies Commons, Food Security Commons, Food Studies Commons, Infrastructure Commons, Legal Theory Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Political Theory Commons, Politics and Social Change Commons, Regional Sociology Commons, Rural Sociology Commons, Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance Commons, Social Influence and Political Communication Commons, Speech and Rhetorical Studies Commons, Theory, Knowledge and Science Commons, Work, Economy and Organizations Commons