Taking Complexity in Food Systems Seriously: An Interdisciplinary Analysis


World Development
Tira Foran
James R.A. Butler
Liana J. Williams
Wolf J. Wanjura
Andy Hall
Lucy Carter
Peter S. Carberry
14 September 2014

This study analyzed the interdisciplinary triangulation of four divergent conceptual frameworks, each relevant to diagnosing food insecurity in developing countries. Notable tensions as well as synergistic interactions between agroecology, agricultural innovation systems, social–ecological systems, and political ecology were discovered. Cross-framework interactions enhance the understanding of how sectoral and macro-economic development strategies impact on livelihoods, availability, and access. Re-invigorated, more profound dialog between divergent conceptual frameworks enables diagnosis of complex food insecurity problems, and context-specific interventions and innovations. Informed use of divergent approaches constitutes a new ambition for research and practice.