Call for papers ’Science, Technology and Food Security’ (May 1st, 2017)

Call for papers

Special issue “Science, Technology and Food Security”

for the journal
’Science, Technology and Society’

Guest editors :

  • Antoine Bernard de Raymond (INRA, France ; )
  • Frédéric Goulet (CIRAD, France ;

Like other global challenges such as climate change, food security has driven the activities and discourses of many different players (national and international public institutions, industries, NGOs, farmers’ organizations, etc.) over the last ten years. Originally rooted in the problem of hunger in developing countries, food security is now an issue embedding new forms of North-South, South-South or North-North relationships. Issues of global governance, social movements, market regulations and food systems have been extensively discussed by scholars, thus giving substance to food security studies. But relatively little attention has been paid to the ways in which science and technology contribute to shape or address debates on food security. The aim of this special issue of Science, Technology and Society is to explore the role of science and technology in the contemporary understandings and government of food security, particularly in terms of global South-North relations.

The literature has described, and often generated, debates on the place of science and technology in the definition of food security and the making of solutions to the food security challenge. For example, contributions have highlighted the reactivation of a productivist agenda following the 2008 food crisis (Dibden et al., 2013). Authors have shown how the food security issue has been used to broadly diffuse a discourse on “feeding the 9 billion in 2050” (Tomlinson, 2013) that promotes technological solutions such as GMO’s (Williams, 2009) and reactivates the imaginary of the Green Revolution and the fight against hunger based on scientific principles (Phillips and Ilcan, 2003). In the same way, they have described (and sometimes promoted) the expansion of critical alternatives to the supremacy of science and technology, arguing that a food regime change would entail a new research agenda (Carolan, 2012) or new patterns of relations between science and agrifood systems (Riverra-Ferra, 2012). These changes would include the promotion of agroecological practices (McMichael, 2012) and place-based, participatory and reflexive forms of knowledge (Marsden, 2013). This special issue aims to describe these controversies and the role of science and technology in shaping “solutions” to the food security problem. The ability of scientific and technological actors to legitimate or discriminate certain options and to design certain (un)acceptable futures or promises is an aspect that needs to be explored.

This special issue also seeks to understand the ways in which food security challenges have contributed towards transforming scientific and technological fields. There is a need, for example, to explore the consequences of the definition of food security as a societal grand challenge (Wright, 2012) on the structuration and the activities of the scientific field. Food security has become a key word, an umbrella term (Rip and Voß 2013) under which scientists and industrials have been called to contribute, in order to obtain funding or to justify the social contributions of their activities. The hypothesis might even be made that agricultural research contributes to legitimate and perform the problem of food security itself, securing the funding of its activity and its relevance. It is therefore important to understand both what science does to food security and what food security does to science and technology and how they are coproduced at global and local levels (Jasanoff, 2004). Contributions can explore how tools such as models and foresight/prospective studies developed by experts contribute to shape agendas for agricultural research and international development.

This special issue of Science, Technology and Society will contribute towards providing a fresh look at these debates, with contributions based on local, national or transnational empirical cases studies. For example, it will tackle issues such as :

  • (i) How science and technology actors contribute towards shaping food security as a public issue, and bring it onto the political agenda, for instance in agricultural research, international development policies and trade agreements
  • (ii) With science becoming increasingly driven by “grand challenges”, how food security has become a framework for the mobilization, legitimation and funding of agricultural research
  • (iii) How scientific communities and institutions (and industry) mobilize/engage in order to offer technological solutions to the food security problem, and favor new productive arrangements in various regions
  • (iv) How these debates and controversies reflect contemporary matches or mismatches between scientific disciplines, for example between “hard” sciences and social sciences, or between economics and social sciences

Contributions exploring other aspects of the relationships between science, technology and food security are of course welcome.

Schedule :

  • Submission of abstracts (500 words) : May 1st 2017 

  • Submission of first drafts (7500 – 8000 words) : September 15th 2017
  • Final submission : January2018

Please send abstracts to : and

About the Science, Technology and Society journal :

Science, Technology and Society is an international journal devoted to the study of science and technology in a social context. It focuses on the way in which advances in science and technology influence society and vice versa. It is a peer-reviewed journal that takes an interdisciplinary perspective, encouraging analyses whose approaches are drawn from a variety of disciplines such as history, sociology, philosophy, economics, political science and international relations, science policy involving innovation, foresight studies involving science and technology, technology management, environmental studies, energy studies and gender studies. The journal consciously endeavors to combine scholarly perspectives relevant to academic research and policy issues relating to development. Besides research articles the journal encourages research-based country reports, commentaries and book reviews. Science, technology and Society is published in association with the Society for the Promotion of Science and Technology Studies.

Further information and instruction for authors :