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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24822

Title: The Canadian Wheat Board and the Creative Re-constitution of the Canada-UK Wheat Trade: Wheat and Bread in Food Regime History
Authors: Magnan, André
Advisor: Friedmann, Harriet
Department: Sociology
Keywords: political economy
agriculture and food
food regimes
Canadian Wheat Board
genetically engineered crops
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2010
Abstract: This dissertation traces the historical transformation of the Canada-UK commodity chain for wheat-bread as a lens on processes of local and global change in agrofood relations. During the 1990s, the Canadian Wheat Board (Canada’s monopoly wheat seller) and Warburtons, a British bakery, pioneered an innovative identity-preserved sourcing relationship that ties contracted prairie farmers to consumers of premium bread in the UK. Emblematic of the increasing importance of quality claims, traceability, and private standards in the reorganization of agrifood supply chains, I argue that the changes of the 1990s cannot be understood outside of historical legacies giving shape to unique institutions for regulating agrofood relations on the Canadian prairies and in the UK food sector. I trace the rise, fall, and re-invention of the Canada-UK commodity chain across successive food regimes, examining the changing significance of wheat- bread, inter-state relations between Canada, the UK, and the US, and public and private forms of agrofood regulation over time. In particular, I focus on the way in which changing food regime relations transformed the CWB, understood as the nexus of institutions tying prairie farmers into global circuits of accumulation. When in the 1990s, the CWB and Warburtons responded to structural crises in their respective industries by re-inventing the Canada-UK wheat trade, the result was significant organizational and industry change. On the prairies, the CWB has shown how – contrary to expectations -- centralized marketing and quality control may help prairie farmers adapt to the demands of end-users in the emerging ‘economy of qualities’. In the UK, Warburtons has led the ‘premiumisation’ of the bread sector, traditionally defined by consumer taste for cheap bread, over the last 15 years. The significance of the shift towards quality chains in the wheat-bread sector is analyzed in light of conflicts over the proposed introduction of genetically engineered (GE) wheat to the Canadian prairies.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24822
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Sociology - Doctoral theses

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