Course description

The objective of this interdisciplinary Ph.D. course is to critically analyse the changing nature of global food governance: the norms, rules and institutions that govern international political and economic interactions in our globalised food system.

In recent decades, Transnational Corporations (TNCs) have played an increasingly dominant role, largely at the expense of national governments and international agencies such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). At the same time, other non-state actors such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and philanthropic foundations have become increasingly significant.

Against this background, the course will address questions such as:

  • What role do non-state actors play in the governance of the global food system?

  • What is the source of their power, and how is this exercised?

  • What are the wider implications of private power in global food governance for the legitimacy and sustainability of the global food system?

The ambition of the course is to assist students to locate their own research within a wide perspective: viewing the food system ‘from farm to fork’ encourages a comprehensive picture that includes issues of both food security and food safety, agriculture and nutrition.


The course will enable doctoral students to better understand key concepts, debates and perspectives on global food governance, based on up-to-date literature – and on recent developments ‘on the ground’. In addition to lectures, the course will allow those conducting Ph.D. research to present their own work and comment on that of others, guided by senior experienced academics who are themselves working in this field.

Course capacity: 18 students

Language of instruction: English

Syllabus: Approx. 1000 pages of compulsory Readings.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Obtain a nuanced understanding of global food governance in theory and in practice.

  • Be well acquainted with the major theoretical and empirical approaches to studying food governance at national and global levels.

  • Gain a good understanding of the role and power of transnational corporations, and other non-state actors such as private foundations and non-governmental organisations.

Published Jan. 13, 2016 12:23 PM - Last modified Aug. 10, 2016 9:53 AM