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Why are agri-food systems resistant to new directions of change? A systematic review

Conti, C., Zanello, G. ORCID: and Hall, A. (2021) Why are agri-food systems resistant to new directions of change? A systematic review. Global Food Security, 31. 100576. ISSN 2211-9124

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.gfs.2021.100576


A central concern about achieving global food security is reconfiguring agri-food systems towards sustainability. However, historically-informed trajectories of agri-food system development remain resistant to a change in direction. Through a systematic literature review, we identify three research domains exploring this phenomenon and six explanations of resistance: embedded nature of technologies, misaligned institutional settings, individual attitudes, political economy factors, infrastructural rigidities, research and innovation priorities. We find ambiguities in the use of the terms lock-in and path-dependency, which often weaken the analysis. We suggest a framing that deals with interdependencies and temporal dynamics of causes of resistance. Finally, we discuss implications for framing innovation for transformational change and other research gaps.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:100151
Uncontrolled Keywords:Inertia, Lock-in, Path-dependency, Agri-food systems, Innovation, Systemic change

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