Directionality and systemic governance: Lessons from Brazilian pig system transformations from the 1960s to date

Jean Carlos Porto Vilas Boas Souza

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Different actors, for different reasons, have increasingly questioned how current development models affect distribution, diversity, directionality, and democracy issues within socio-technical systems where the contemporary world meets its basic needs, such as food, energy, and transport. Scholars focused on analyzing agri-food systems' evolution have paid close attention to how directionality interacts with systemic governance to promote specific goals – e.g., to make systems more organized, efficient, or profitable; to make them more environmentally friendly, inclusive, or resilient. Despite valuable critiques and theoretical reflections provided by previous literature regarding directionality and systemic governance, there is a call for 1) sharpening how directionality influences transformative processes; and 2) shedding light on the role of systemic governance in the steerability of directionality. This thesis aims to contribute to these debates by analyzing case studies related to the evolvement of Brazilian pig production from the 1960s to date. The thesis proposes, as one of its key findings, the 'streams of directionality' concept. In doing so, it offers a more fine-grained comprehension of how directionality unfolds in agri-food systems by 1) arguing that the guidance directionality exerts on agri-food systems is multifaceted, and 2) implying that its multifaceted guidance unfolds through different levels and domains. Drawing upon the streams of directionality concept, this thesis offers a double understanding of synchronization in the steering of change. Moreover, it argues that there is a need to pay explicit public policy attention to build systemic governance elements to promote the synchronization or desynchronization of the guiding forces linked to directionality. 


Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Klerkx, Laurens, Promotor
  • Leeuwis, Cees, Co-promotor
  • Lie, Rico, Co-promotor
Award date16 Nov 2020
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463955935
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2020


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