Length: 3000 words (excluding bibliography)
“The power of global capitalism has reshaped our world. It has enabled unprecedented levels of wealth and prosperity in the developed world. But this has come at the expense of environmental health, as we exploit planet’s resources beyond sustainable levels, and at the expense of prosperity in the developing world.”
Choosing one of the case studies given below, explore these assertions giving particular consideration to:
How global capitalism, environmental health, resource exploitation, sustainability and prosperity are relevant to the particular case study How the assertion that prosperity comes at the cost of the environment relates to this case and why Whether alternative views of the economy and nature (explored in Module 2) are useful in examining this case study, and how What action is being taken by/on/for the actors within this case study to address the problems associated with globalisation and sustainable development (drawing on material covered in Module 3)
Explanation In this assignment you are asked to write a research essay that explores the problem of prosperity versus the environment in relation to a particular case study.
Choosing the case study: the range of case studies is intended to allow you to select a topic that interests you and have the opportunity to explore it in more depth. It is to your advantage to choose your case study early. You can discuss your choice with Sara if you would like guidance.
Doing the research: It is not expected that you will undertake primary research for this essay (i.e. interviews, surveys and the like). You should rely on secondary data sources, starting with the weekly required reading and the suggestions provided below (available via searching the library MultiSearch) and expanding from there. If you are having any difficulties finding appropriate materials you should speak about it immediately.
Writing the essay: some material on writing essays will be covered during the teaching sessions (and posted online for external students). The central consideration will be that the essay presents a reasoned argument that draws on case material to support and illustrate key points.
Case Study 1: Food Production and Industrial Agriculture
a particular food company and how it is shaping food production (examples: Monsanto in seed production and GMO, Goodman Fielder in poultry, baking, general foods; Fosters Group in wine and brewing; Fonterra in dairy; Nestlé and Unilever, among the world’s largest diversified food and beverage groups; Cadbury-Schweppes in confectionary/soft drinks; ConAgra in meats and commodity trade).
Selected reading list:
Clark, N., Cloke, P., Barnett, C. and Malpass, A. (2008) ‘The spaces and ethics of organic food’, Journal of Rural Studies, 24(3): 219-230.
Cook, I. (2004) ‘Follow the Thing: Papaya’, Antipode, 36(4): 642-664
Morgan K., Marsden T. and Murdoch J. (2006) ‘The Commodity World in Wales’ in Worlds of Food: Place, Power and Provenance in the Food Chain, Oxford, Oxford University Press: 143-165.
Ponte S. (2002) ‘The “latte revolution’? Regulation, markets and consumption in the global coffee chain’, World Development 30(7): 1099-1112
Raynolds, L. (2002) ‘Consumer/Producer Links in Fair Trade Coffee Networks’, Sociologia Ruralis, 42(4): 404-424
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