Ph.D. Course: 'Global Food Governance: The Role of Non-State Actors'

The objective of this interdisciplinary 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.  

The application deadline was 15 April, 2016.

Oslo Academy of Global Governance and SUM Research School, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo are pleased to invite applications for the forthcoming doctoral course ‘Global Food Governance: The Role of Non-State Actors'.

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.

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.


  • Jennifer Clapp, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability and Professor, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Canada

  • Nora McKeon, Adviser, Terra Nuova; former civil society director, U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization; and Lecturer, Rome 3 University

  • Jan Aart Scholte, Professor, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden 

  • Desmond McNeill, Research Director, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway and member of The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)

Who may apply?

The interdisciplinary nature of the course will appeal to doctoral students from several different disciplines within the social sciences – political science, international relations, geography, political ecology, sociology, law, development studies and anthropology – as well as those studying nutrition and health policy.

Published Jan. 31, 2016 7:59 PM - Last modified Oct. 9, 2020 4:17 PM