Tese de Doutorado
A construção social do mercado de alimentos orgÂnicos na região metropolitana de Belo Horizonte
Djalma Eudes dos Santos
This thesis, developed from the perspective of the New Economic Sociology (NES), considers the advances that this theory has achieved in recent years especially with regard to studies on the social construction of markets. When considering the market as a social construction, sociologists seek to understand it beyond a purely logical construction which, among other things, assumes that the market is the result of the relationship between offer versus demand. The NES rejects this perspective and proposes other concepts that, taken together, make up the theoretical framework for the analysis of markets, among others, the concepts of market as a field of struggle and the power relations that are embedded in social structures that control and stabilize the market. Considering the advances achieved, particularly from the expansion of research in this area in Brazil, we realize that there are few studies on organic food markets, especially with regard to the political history of the construction of the regulatory framework and to how a vision of the organic product was socially codified. In this sense, taking the quality issue as reference and, at the same time, as a determinant of market organization, this research provides an empirical demonstration of the processes that led to the imposition of the conception of control that exists today as well as the strategies of appropriation of the standard by the local market. Based on a methodological triangulation, ethnography, social network analysis, documental analysis and a survey with consumers, we attempted to reconstruct part of the history that sets the quality standard for this industry. Among the results, we can see that this construction took place with the full participation of actors mobilized around issues that touch the construction of market as well as those that propose a new view about production, culminating in defining the boundaries of a market whose limits are likely to be controlled locally by economic actors through participatory mechanisms and social control. As shown by Fligstein, the presence of the state is crucial to stabilize the market and, when it comes to organizing a new field, the presence of actors with social skill to ensure cooperation is a key issue. In our case study (the city of Capim Branco, Minas Gerais), with the local actions of governmental actors, it can be seen how this market is organized and primarily dependent on these actors.