Harriet Friedmann

Harriet Friedmann

Professor Emeritus


I am a food system analyst, writer and lecturer. I first entered this unknown realm in the 1970s by studying the world wheat market, which I intuited would be an intrinsically important way to understand world economy holistically, from settler farms to finance, migration, logistics and inter-state relations. My PhD (Harvard, 1977) turned out to cross two unrelated fields of Rural Sociology and World-Systems, and led to influential articles on farming systems and a long, fruitful collaboration with Philip McMichael on food regimes.* I was also lucky to be connected with the early emergence of the pioneering Toronto Food Policy Council and its embrace of city-regional food systems.** These connections happily converged with two emergent phenomena: the inter-disciplinary intellectual field of food studies*** which contributes to reconnecting social and natural sciences; and the social movements, social economy experiments, and policy initiatives at all scales, contributing to potential transformations in human relations to land, bodies, society, and governance. I followed the food-farming thread from Sociology into the Centre for International Studies and the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. I am now Professor Emeritus of Sociology based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and Visiting Professor of Agrarian, Food, and Environmental Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (Erasmus University). Recent visiting research collaborations include CPDA (Federal Rural University, Rio de Janeiro), Brazil, and CIRAD, Montpellier, France. My main passions now are seed biodiversity,+ city food regions,** commons, resilience theory,  and exploring with others the present possibilities for food system transformations in world-ecological context++ --- what might be called emergent modes of foodgetting.


Agriculture and the Social State, forthcoming 2015. Journal of International Law and International Relations

Food Regimes: International Political Economy of Food. Tokyo: Kobushi Shobo, 2006 (in Japanese. Translator, Professor Masao Watanabe, with Michiko Kida).

Changing Food Systems from Top to Bottom: Political Economy and Social Movements Perspectives, ch. 2 in Mustafa Koc, Jennifer Sumner and Anthony Winson,eds., Critical Perspectives in Food Studies. Oxford 2012.

Moving Food Regimes Forward: Reflections on Symposium Essays, Agriculture and Human Values 26(4), 2009: 335-44.

Whose Rules Rule? Contested Projects to Certify ‘Local Production for Distant Consumers’, Journal of Agrarian Change, 8: 2-3) 2008, pp.408-34. (with Amber McNair).

Situating the Retail Revolution, in David Burch and Geoffrey Lawrence, eds., Supermarkets and Agri-food Supply Chains: Transformations in the production and Consumption of Food. Edward Elgar, 2007, pp.294-323. (with Philip McMichael)

Discourse and Structure in the  Governance of Genetically Modified Foods:  Disempowering Civil Society, in John Kirton and Peter Hajnal. eds., Sustainability, Civil Society, and International Governance: Local, North American and Global Perspectives. Ashgate, 2006 (with Diane Bartlett)

Feeding the Empire: The Pathologies of Globalized Agriculture, in Colin Leys and Leo Panitch, eds., The Empire Reloaded: Socialist Register 2005. pps. 124-43. London: Merlin, 2004.

International Political Economy of Food: A Global Crisis, New Left Review no. 197, Jan./Feb. 1993, pp. 29-57.

Prepublication of  "International Relations of Food," Barbara Harriss-White and Sir Raymond Hoffenberg, eds., Food, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1994. Reprinted in The International Journal of Health Services, 25:3, 1995, pp.511 -38 and Carole Counihan, ed. Food in the USA. New York: Routledge, 2002: 325-46. 

Remaking Traditions: How We Eat, What We Eat and the Changing Political Economy of Food,  in Deborah Barndt, ed.  Women Working the NAFTA Food Chain:Women, Food, and Globalization.  Toronto: Second Story, 1999, pp.  35-60.

Promethean Sociology: On Wallerstein and the Modern World-System,  in Dan Clawson, ed.  Required Reading: Sociology’s Most Influential Books, Amherst MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998, pp. 149-54.

Remaking Traditions: How We Eat, What We Eat and the Changing Political Economy of Food, in Deborah Barndt, ed.  Women Working the NAFTA Food Chain:Women, Food, and Globalization.  Toronto: Second Story, 1999, pp.  35-60.

Warsaw Pact Socialism: Detente and the Disintegration of the Soviet Bloc, in Allen Hunter, ed., Rethinking the Cold War, Pittsburgh: Temple University Press, 1998, pp. 213-31.

Blocs Rule -- and Blocs Fall Apart, Symposium in Political Power and Social Theory, Volume 9, 1995, pp. 181-97.

Premature Rigour:  Or, Can Ben Fine Have His Contingency and Eat It Too? Symposium in Review of International Political Economy 1:3, Autumn 1994, pp. 553-561.

Food Politics:  New Dangers, New Possibilities, in Philip McMichael, ed. Food and Agrarian Orders in the World Economy."  Westport CT:  Praeger, 1995, pp. 15-33.

Distance and Durability:  Shaky Foundations of the World Food Economy, Third World Quarterly, 13: 2, 1992 pp. 37-83. Reprinted n Philip McMichael, ed. The Global Restructuring of Agro-Food Systems.  Ithaca:  Cornell, 1994, pp. 258-76.

Agri‑food Industries and Export Agriculture:  The Changing International Division of Labour, in William Friedland, Lawrence Busch and Frederick Buttel, eds., The New Political Economy of Agriculture. Boulder:  Westview Press 1991, pp. 65-93.

The Origins of Third World Food Dependence," pp. 13‑31 in Henry Bernstein, Ben Crow, Maureen Mackintosh and Charlotte Martin, eds., The Food Question London:  Earthscan, 1990, pp. 13-31.

Rethinking Capitalism and Hierarchy, Review, Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economics, Historical Systems, and Civilizations, Vol. 13 No. 2, 1990, pp. 255-64.

Agriculture and the State System:  The Rise and Decline of National Agriculture (with Philip McMichael), Sociologia Ruralis  XIX (2), 1989: 93‑117.  (with Philip McMichael).  Reprinted  La Question Agraria, no. 38. 1990 and Agricultural Policy, Aldershot, Hants, U.K.: Edward Elgar, Wyn P. Grant and John T.S. Keeler, eds., UK: Edward Elgar.

Foreign Trade Policy and World Commerce:  The Case of Wheat, 1815 to the Present, in Foreign Policy and the Modern World Systems, Volume VIII of The Sage International Yearbook of Foreign Policy Studies, edited by Pat McGowan and Charles W. Kegley, Jr., Beverly Hills: Sage, 1983, pp. 125‑155.

The Political Economy of Food:  The Rise and Fall of the Postwar International Food Order, in M. Burawoy and T. Skocpol, eds., Marxist Inquiries: Studies of Labour, Class and States, supplement to Vol. 88, American Journal of Sociology, 1982, pp. S248‑86.  Translation into Dutch.