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Food Activism and Antimafia Cooperatives in Contemporary Sicily.

Theodoros Rakopoulos, 2013

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Summary :

By 2012 there were, around Italy, eight agrarian cooperatives (and two associations) working land that the state had con scated from the ma a in the late 1990s. Four of these cooperatives operate (the oldest since 1999) in the valley of Alto Belice, in Western Sicily.1

Along with many journalists, Libera, a nationwide nongovernmental organization (NGO) that organizes activism against the ma a,2

claims that the area has been Nliberated from the ma aO (Libera 2009a,b, 2010; Morelli 2003) and that economic processes are free of the control of ma osi. These agrarian cooperatives produce organic food and wine, distributed through consumer cooperatives across Italy; their policies simultaneously promote organic cultivation and the struggle against the ma a (Frigerio and Pati 2006). Activist claims made by work groups and production organizations such as these cooperatives need to be evaluated because they encompass people from a variety of class and experiential backgrounds, who de ne and enact diverse conceptualizations of activism.

This chapter, therefore, focusing on the antima a cooperatives in contemporary Sicily, asks, how are ideas on antima a activism, associated with food and wine production and circulation, deployed? I shall particularly explore democracy in the food activism of these Sicilian work organizations, which promote antima a principles and food activism in one breath. This is particularly urgent if we recall that food activism is often deployed in circumstances of ethical economic activity registered as a globalized movement for the solidarity economy, linked to eradicating social inequality (Laville 2010) or to a NhumanO economy, that is, economic activity of actors striving for economic democracy (Hart, Laville, and Cattani 2010). The idea of democracy here holds a twofold meaning: at once a process of democratic participation in economic activity and a fairer distribution of and access to resources. The solidarity economy stands between forms of activism and a means of guaranteeing resources and has been proposed as a route to sustainable development (Dacheux and Goujon 2012).