Formation of Actor-Networks: Soy in Austria since the 1970s.
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
Conference of the European Rural History Organisation (EURHO)
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
After World War Two, soybeans played a crucial role in the Western Nutrition Transition as an animal feed for the expanding meat industry and as a vegetable oil in human nutrition. However, before they became a visible cash crop and an inherent part of the agro-food regime, soybeans were an invisible niche product. To better understand soy?s upgrading to the mainstream, the paper adopts the Multi-Level Perspective (regime, niche and landscape levels) on socio-technical transitions to examine niche-regime interactions and the formation of soy-centred networks on a national level (Austria) as part of the transnational soy web. Hence, the central question of the paper is which innovative actors and networks around soy in plant breeding, production, processing and distribution led to the rise of soy as feed and food in Austria since the late 1960s. According to food regime theory, this period comprised the crisis of the ?US-centered food regime? and the (possible) transition to the ?WTO-centered food regime?. At that time imports of soybeans had already taken -off in Austria and domestic production was discussed as a solution to reduce import -dependency. By drawing on interviews with soy pioneers and focusing on relational aspects, the paper offers not only an in-depth analysis of social interactions in transitions but also shows how domestic niche developments were transnationally connected. The paper is part of the FWF research project Soy and Agro-Food Change (SoyChange).