Food community networks as leverage for social embeddedness

Giorgio Schifani, Giuseppina Migliore, Luigi Cembalo, Giovanni Dara Guccione, Giovanni Dara Guccione

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Social embeddedness, defined as the interaction of economic activitiesand social behavior, is used in this study as a conceptual tool to describe the growingphenomenon of food community networks (FCNs). The aim in this paper was to mapthe system of relations which the FCNs develop both inside and outside the networkand, from the number of relations, it was inferred the influence of each FCN upon theformation of new socially embedded economic realities. A particular form of FCNwas taken under consideration: solidarity purchase groups (SPGs). Performed withthe aid of social network analysis on a sample of SPGs in Sicily (a region in southernItaly), the study allowed us to identify a relational (internal) social embeddedness, inwhich groups of consumers and farmers are directly influenced by reciprocal interactions,giving rise to more or less numerous links of reciprocity and trust dependingon the number of interactions. It was also identified a structural (external) socialembeddedness, generated by the nature of relations that the SPGs undertake with thevarious social actors. From the results of our analysis it emerges that SPGs lie at theintersection of many social realities, influencing them and in turn being influenced bysuch realities. We highlight the major role played by consumer and environmentalassociations in affecting the phenomenon of social embeddedness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-567
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • History
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Environmental Science


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