Drawing on our long-term research experiences, in this deliberately provocative but also reflexive paper we argue that international food and agriculture studies constitute a research area that would particularly benefit from insights obtained from research conducted in the world's peripheries—in this case, specifically from insights on East European food systems. Instead of seeing them as textbook case studies of undeveloped, traditional and hence uninspiring systems, we propose to study them from the East European perspective. This enables us to move away from a unidirectional development path and to acknowledge the diversity, resilience and unintended but real sustainability of the melange of East European formal and informal food systems. Such endeavour reveals food practices that cannot easily be reduced to ‘food chains’, ‘food initiatives’ or diets. It recognises meanings that go beyond the conventional food system terminology and are rooted in surrounding contexts. Evidence from Eastern Europe reveals a rich diversity of food practices challenging normative assumptions and neatly structured explanatory models underlying Western food system scholarship.

dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.04.015, hdl.handle.net/1765/126561
Journal of Rural Studies
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Jehlička, P, Grīviņš, M. (Miķelis), Visser, O, & Balázs, B. (Bálint). (2020). Thinking food like an East European: A critical reflection on the framing of food systems. Journal of Rural Studies. doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.04.015