Jun.-Prof. Dr. Renata Motta
Freie Universität Berlin
Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56
Die Sprechstunde im Sommersemester 19/20 findet dienstags von 12 – 14 Uhr im Lateinamerika-Institut an der Freie Universität Berlin (Rüdesheimer Straße 54-56, 14197 Berlin, U-Bahn Breitenbachplatz) statt. Um einen Termin zu vereinbaren, tragen Sie sich in die Liste im folgenden Link:
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Renata Motta is Assistant Professor in Sociology at the Institute for Latin American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and Project Leader of the Research Group Food for Justice: Power, Politics and Inequalities in a Bioeconomy (2019-2023), funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). She has been Associate Professor of Brazilian Studies and Global Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark (2017-2018), and Adjunct Professor in Sociology at the Institute for Latin American Studies from the Freie Universität Berlin (2015-2017). She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the Freie Universität Berlin in 2015, where she was a doctoral researcher at the BMBF-funded project desiguALdades.net. Her teaching and research interests include political sociology and social movements, social theories on modernity and globalization, social inequalities, gender and environment, and food studies. She has authored articles in these areas for Science as Culture, Latin American Perspectives, Journal of Agrarian Change, Social Movement Studies, Sociology Compass, Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais. She authored the book Social Mobilization, Global Capitalism and Struggles over Food (2016), and co-edited Global Entangled Inequalities: Conceptual Debates and Evidence from Latin America (2017).
Since 07/2018: Junior Professor (Assistant Professor) in Sociology, Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
- 09/2017-06/201: Temporary Associate Professor in Brazil Studies School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark
2015-2018: Adjunct Professor in Sociology (Postdoc Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
- 2014/15:Research Associate and Lecturer (Pre-Doc Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
- Since 2014: Teaching and Research Associate in Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin, Institute for Latin American Studies
- 01/2015: PhD in Sociology from Freie Universität Berlin.
- 2011 - 2014: Doctoral Scholarship of the BMBF Research Project "International Research Network on Interdependent Inequalities in Latin America - desiguALdades.net". Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
- 2008: Master’s Degree (M.A.) in Social Sciences, Universidade de Brasília, Brazil
- 2007: Specialist in International Health, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
- 2004: Bachelor in International Relations, Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Editorial and Board Positions
- Board Member Research Committee 47 International Sociological Association (2014-2018)
- Board Member ESA Research Network on Risk and Uncertainty (2013-2014)
- Editor (2012-204) SoRU News. E-newsletter of the ISA/ESA Research Network on Risk and Uncertainty. ISSN 2035-5391 (SoRU News Print) and ISSN 2035-5405 (SoRU News Online)
Research Grants, Scholarships and Awards
- 2019: Research Grant for the Project Food for Justice: Power, Politics and Inequalities in a Bioeconomy (2019-2023), funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
- 2014: Travel Grant by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to participate at XVIII World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan.
- 2013: Scholarship by BMBF to participate at 3rd Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences.
- 2012: Scholarship by BMBF 3rd Summer School desiguALdades.net “Asymmetries of Knowledge”, National University of Bogota, Colombia, October/29th to November 3rd.
- 2012: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant. II ISA Forum, Buenos Aires, Argentina, August.
- 2012: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant. 3rd International Political Science Association (IPSA)mAnnual Summer School „Concepts and methods in Political Science and Methods”, University of São Paulo, Brazil, January 30-February 10.
- 2011: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant. 35º Encontro da ANPOCS, Caxambu, Brazil, October.
- 2011: European Sociological Association Scholarship and Travel Grant. ESA PhD Workshop. "Social Relations in Turbulent Times", University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland, September.
- 2011: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant. ESA 10th Conference: Social Relations in Turbulent Times, Geneva, Switzerland, September.
- 2011: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant for a Research stay at ECLAC/UN, Santiago, Chile, March-April.
- 2010: Travel Grant from Associação Nacional de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação em Ciências Sociais. 34º Encontro da ANPOCS, Caxambu, Brazil, October.
- 2010: Jean Monnet Travel Grant for "Workshop for Young Researchers: European Integration between Trade and Non Trade: Selected Issues", Maastricht University, Holland.
- 2004: Scholarship from DAAD for Winter Course in the Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg.
- 2003: Scholarship from Pontifícia Universidade Católica, (Fund for Incentives for Research, FIP) in the project "Decentralization and Defragmentation in the Provision of Public Health: The Experience of the Intermunicipal Health Consortia in Minas Gerais", coord. by Profs. Drs. Carlos Alberto Rocha and Carlos Aurélio Faria, Department of Social Sciences.
33603 Kolloquium Forschungskolloquium Soziologie Lateinamerikas (mit Sergio Costa)
33820 Seminar Women in Movement in Latin America: Critical materialism, environmentalism and technofeminism (mit Marcela Suárez)
33951 Studienprojekt Monitorando a democracia e os direitos humanos no Brasil (mit Sergio Costa)
15353 Seminar Global and Regional Transformations: Contexts, Concepts, Interdependencies (mit Philipp Lepenies)
33870 Vorlesung Lateinamerika als Labor der Moderne (mit Bert Hoffmann)
33231 Seminar Global Sociologies: Decentring Sociological Theory (mit Sergio Costa)
33603 Kolloquium Forschungscolloquium Soziologie Lateinamerikas (mit Sergio Costa)
30214 Hauptseminar Machtwechsel und Umverteilungskonflikte in Brasilien (mit Sergio Costa)
33603 Kolloquium Forschungskolloquium Soziologie
33862 Hauptseminar Del ecofeminismo hacia las políticas del cuerpo: debates teóricos y estudios de caso (mit Martha Zapata Galindo)
30208 Hauptseminar Global Sociologies Environment, Gender and Southern Theory
33950 E-Learning Wissenschaftspraxis I (mit Barbara Fritz, Robert Lüdtke, Antonio Carbone)
Wintersemester 2015/16 und Sommersemester 2016
On maternity leave
Global and Regional Transformations: Theories, Trends, Interdependencies (mit Sergio Costa)
Soziale Ungleichheiten und die Weltregionen: Theorien und Diagnosen ( mit Sergio Costa/Barbara Fritz)
Neue Perspektiven auf soziale Bewegungen in Lateinamerika (mit Marius Haberland)
Political Sociology, Political Economy, Environmental Sociology, Rural Sociology, Social Inequalities, Social Theory, Social Movements, Latin American Studies, Brazilian Studies, Gender Studies, Comparative Sociology, Food and Commodity Studies.
The junior research group Food for Justice examines normative questions of inequalities and justice, rights and democracy that arise in disputes surrounding the question “how are we going to feed the world?” There is a growing politicisation of the production, distribution and consumption of food, because food relations are structured by economic, social, political, cultural and environmental inequalities. Increasingly, citizens perceive the global food system as part of the historical causes of the ecological crisis and the persisting hunger in the world. Although reasons for that are long known (the use of food for profit, the gap between production and consumption, conflicts over land and water, exploitative labour relations, the energy matrix and waste generation), research on food security and bioeconomy tend to rely on the same, searching for technological fixes to a profit-oriented model exploiting living matter.
What is needed to deepen the debate is more knowledge about which food system citizens desire, which solutions are already there that address social concerns and how to redirect public policies towards a fair and sustainable food system. Combining theoretical perspectives on global inequalities with social movement research on food justice, Food for Justice will look at challenges and solutions both in Europe (with focus on Germany) and in Latin America (focusing on Brazil). On the one hand, major normative challenges will be identified in case studies of social mobilisation and critical consumption over food. On the other hand, the research will map and analyse social and political innovations such as agroecology and alternative food networks, as devised by civil society groups and public policies to achieve food security. In short, Food for Justice is about achieving global food security in a fair and ecological way. It looks into social mobilization targeted at injustices in the food system and into social and political innovations that address inequalities undermining food security such as class, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality.
Bridging Environments: United by Food?
Support by: Margherita-von-Brentano-Zentrum, FU Berlin
Under which conditions does ‘bridging’ occur between the countryside and the urban centers in conflicts over socio-environmental inequalities related to food production relations? What prevents it from happening? There is a significant gap in the literature in political sociology on processes of ‘bridging’ and ‘brokerage’ across sites where problems arise and are addressed, from the local to global scales. When these processes are addressed in the literature, an intersectional analysis is missing. Often, women are attributed a leading role in grassroots mobilization whereas global agents and brokers are mostly associated with dominant masculinities. I address three aspects of the research problem. The first is the different categories of actors along lines of social class, gender and ethnicity who participate in interconnected struggles. The second is the multiple scales in which linkages between rural and urban sites take place, in the context of global food chains, ranging from processes at the local level, to those that reach the national political agenda and cross national borders. The third is the influence of different themes that make bridging either possible or unlikely to happen, including how the different materialities of nature intersect with social mobilizations.
Following from the theoretical understanding that bridging conflicts depends on concrete actions from social actors while being challenged by disconnections that exclude places and actors from global chains, I will conduct extended case studies of successful wide coalition-builiding, namely, Wir haben es satt (Germany) and Marcha das Margaridas (Brazil).
Brazil and Argentina are the second and the third largest producers respectively of genetically modified (GM) crops. The ten-year lag between the conversion of the majority of soy fields to GM soy in Argentina (1999) and Brazil (2009) relates to differences in social mobilization. By examining explanations for these different paths, the research addresses the conditions in which challengers from social movements changed the official pro-GMO policy and the conditions that prevented it happening. This situates the research in a wider problematic of the conditions for social participation in the trajectory of agrarian change. The research enquires not only into the role of national political contexts but also contextualizes these in relation to global agrarian capitalism. The theoretical framework establishes a dialogue between political economy and political sociology, mediated by a focus on social movements’ theory. It includes structural and actor-centred explanations, material and cultural dimensions, and a dialogue between social movement research and peasant studies. The analytical factors were placed in relation to one another in order to explain paths of social disputes over GMOs, classified in two ideal types of outcomes: a situation of hegemony or of controversy.
The study draws on methods of macro-analytical qualitative comparisons, adopting a research design of “most similar, different outcomes” while adding a time dimension to explain changes in the trajectories. The main data consists of 28 in-depth interviews with key activists during the years 2012 and 2013. The core of the empirical work is the reconstruction of almost two decades of social mobilization over GM crops. Based on that, the research provides key explanations for each outcome by identifying three main analytical factors: organizational bases and networks, contentious meanings, and structure of political opportunities. These are articulated in an explanatory model: early social mobilization – with mobilizing structures and contentious meanings – is a necessary condition to participate in the shaping of policy; but it is not sufficient as it depends on a third condition, namely, a favourable structure of political opportunities. The latter is influenced, in turn, by the national political economy and the structural location of these countries in global commodity chains (GCCs). Activists in producer nodes face harder challenges as commodities are important sources of private and state revenues. The agrarian poor bear the global socio-environmental burden of GCCs, resulting in their social mobilization if mobilizing structures and meanings are given. Finally, the perception that the locus of decision-making lies in national politics facilitates mobilization, while the perception that politics is manly determined by global market dynamics is demobilizing.
The thesis argues that the transformation of Argentina and Brazil into top world producers of GM crops cannot be explained by biotechnology performance but by political struggles, in which social movements and the rural poor were silenced, ignored, or demobilized by a network of actors in favour of GMOs. The argument highlights the relevance of studying political struggles over GMOs at least for two reasons, one empirical and one theoretical. Firstly, unravelling the complex history of the domination of GMOs in two countries that are propagated as breadbaskets of the world is informative to the wider global debate on agrarian futures and food security. Secondly, the issue of GMOs is also illustrative of contemporary challenges of how social mobilization and rights claims can counter systemic imperatives of global capitalism and political interests.