Many scholar-activists point to the peasant organization La Vía Campesina (LVC) as a model transnational social movement. For two decades, the organization has addressed issues of food sovereignty under the slogan “globalise the struggle, globalise hope.” Sociologist Gaarde (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) presents an engaging, sensitive study that draws on a decade of work with the movement. She is concerned with how the LVC has projected itself as a global actor and opened up political spaces for its members to voice their demands. In particular, Gaarde examines how the LVC has carved out a space to participate in the United Nations and Committee on World Food Security policy-making processes. Perhaps the most novel and important contribution of the book is the documented evidence that a social movement does not need to lose its radical edge as it moves into non-governmental organization and policy-making orbits. Gaarde successfully challenges an assumption that movement leaders lose their connections with grassroots organizations as they become conversant with institutional language and policy debates. This study demonstrates why the LVC remains such an important model for organizing an effective social movement.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries.