Bioethics - Purdue Lectures in Ethics, Policy, and Science

Dr. Paul Thompson, MSU: 4 Archetypes for Future Food Systems

February 22 @ 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM - MJIS 1001

Professor Paul B. Thompson holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, where he serves on the faculty in the departments of Philosophy, Community Sustainability and Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics.Thompson’s research and teaching has focused on ethical and philosophical topics in food and agriculture. He is the author or co-author of over two hundred articles in refereed journals or scholarly books. His book, From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. It won the “Book of the Year” award for 2015 from the North American Society for Social Philosophy.  The second edition of his book, The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics, was published in 2017.
ABSTRACT: This paper sketches four archetypal characterizations of how food will be produced, processed, distributed and consumed over the coming half century—a time in which all manner of social association will be influenced by climate change, growing scarcity of resources relative to human population and climate change. Each archetype reflects what Sheila Jasanoff has called “a sociotechnical imaginary” that generates scenarios or visions of the future that are richly dependent on a technical infrastructure and on a pattern of future technical innovation. In this paper, 4 such imaginaries are sketched briefly: technological modernization (a continuation of food system innovations that began in the 20th century); sustainable intensification (a model emphasizing more efficient use of ecosystem services: “extensification” (a return to less intensive land use) and urban agriculture (a model that is driven by traditions of urban activism, planning and information technology).

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