The Alternative Agriculture Network Isan and Its Struggle for Food Sovereignty – a Food Regime Perspective of Agricultural Relations of Production in Northeast Thailand


  • Alexandra Heis University of Vienna



Alternative Agriculture, Food Regime, Food Sovereignty, Peasant Identity Politics, Northeast Thailand


This paper uses the food regime analysis to visualize relations of domination and exploitation within the realm of food production and supply. Starting with an outlook on how the food regime plays out in the Thai context, the author goes on to elaborate its critical aspects fundamental for a food sovereignty critique: growing concentration of power on the side of transnational corporations, exploitative relations of production in agro-industry, and devastating effects for nature, small-scale producers, and increasingly also for consumers. In Northeast Thailand, the Alternative Agriculture Network Isan (AAN Isan) is struggling to secure income and subsistence agriculture for its members. This is achieved through a number of activities, some of which are introduced here in detail. Producer cooperatives, organic farming, green markets, or a local herb medicine center all aim at empowerment within the present market situation by using aspects of the health discourse to support their arguments and at the same time reinforcing a specific local politics of identity, rooted in notions of culture and religion.

Author Biography

Alexandra Heis, University of Vienna

Alexandra Heis finished her MA in International Development Studies at the University of Vienna in 2013. The article is based on research for her diploma thesis examining the peasant activities from the solidarity economy angle. Her focus is on alternative development paradigms, social movements, and political economy analysis.  Contact:






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