This study develops and presents a conceptual framework to help clarify the dynamics of the ‘multiple sovereignties’ that exist in the construction of food sovereignty. By deploying the concept of ‘sites of sovereignty’—which operate at local, national, and supranational levels, and across state, market, and civil societal sectors—the paper illuminates how competition and convergence between these sites constrains, constructs, and redefines food sovereignty. Although the paper leans heavily on social movement literature, and features food sovereignty movements themselves as key players in this process, it also emphasizes the important roles of state and market actors. In particular, the role of the state has become more central as national governments begin to adopt food sovereignty policies. The paper unpacks the components and conditions of actually existing sovereignty, the aspirational sovereignty that movements indicate as necessary to achieve food sovereignty, and the tactical sovereignties that are pursued in search of these aspirations. In conclusion, the paper argues what this analysis means for movement strategies, state policy, and future research on the trajectory and attainability of food sovereignty.

Additional Metadata
Keywords food sovereignty, sovereignty, social movements, agrarian policy
Thesis Advisor Borras, Saturnino M.
Persistent URL
Series Agrarian and Environmental Studies (AES)
Roman-Alcalá, Antonio. (2014, December 12). Sites of Sovereignty: Exploring Convergence and Competition in the Global Construction of Food Sovereignty. Agrarian and Environmental Studies (AES). Retrieved from