[CfP] Digitization, "big data" and the new geographies of food


L9-FS-233 Leitthema 9: Digitalisierung und Geographie at the end of the page

Short abstract

The session addresses “digitizations” across food chains (e .g. smart farming, blockchain technology), and aims to explore the changing spatiality, sociality and materiality of digital food chains.


Digitization, “big data” and advanced analytics profoundly reshape the way the food chain operates, opening up new spaces of legibility, control, and value extraction at every node of it. Among others, this includes the proliferation of smart and precision farming technologies at the point of production, the implementation of blockchain technologies that enable buyers to trace their ordered products in real time across the wholefood chain, or the production and harnessing of unseen volumes of consumer databy (online) retailers and other actors interested in selling “stuff”, or the information related to it. Such changes are likely to result in new geographies of food chains.

While industry players have celebrated these various moments of digitally induced food chain transformation under banners such as agriculture 4.0 or the smart food chain, critics have voiced concerns.These concerns relate to the monetization and commodification of various forms of data along the food supply chain, raising issues of data sovereignty; the spread of oligopolistic practices of a few key data brokers known from other domains of the agtech economy; and the potential for capital to intensify the control over, and extraction of, value from labour and nature.

The aim of this session is to critically interrogate the risks and opportunities that lie within digital food futures. We invite proposals for papers addressing (but not limited to) one or more of the following aspects of the “digital revolution” across the food chain:

  • Smart farming, precisionfarming, and drone farming
  • Blockchain technologies andtheir impact on supply chain management, logistics, and producer-consumerrelations
  • Silicon Valley goes farming:the rise of AG tech focused venture capital and private equity
  • The tendency foroligopolization in data-based domains of the economy
  • The implications of digitaltechnologies and automation for labour and nature
  • Issues of big data and datasovereignty
  • Environmental footprintmanagement
  • Emergence of closed/privatizedversus open/open source platforms
  • The changing spatiality,sociality and materiality of digital food chains
  • Entry points for digitalpolitical activism and a radicalization of food futures