NIFK22000U Food Systems and Transition

Volume 2022/2023

Msc Programme in Integrated Food Studies


The overall aim of the course is to introduce students to food systems and their actors as a framework for understanding and analyzing the development in the food sector. This will also provide a basis for handling future changes of food systems in a societal context.

The course will comprise the following themes

· Food systems and food networks as conceptualizations of the complex system behind food products and as useful tool in analysis of food related developments. 

· The historical development and structure of food systems (mainstream and alternative food systems). This will include an overview of changing technologies; structure, location, actors as well as salient political issues characterizing food systems in different periods.

· Governance of food systems including an introduction to dynamics of policy processes. This also includes questions of the power and interests of core actors as well the role of social movements.

· Key concepts and theories useful for understanding an analyzing the development and transition of food systems. This includes among other things socio-material approaches to food systems change, sustainability and actor understandings. 

Learning Outcome


· Give an account of the development and present structure mainstream and alternative food systems.

· Show overview of concepts important for understanding food systems and their development.

· Have an overview of key actors, institutional environments and structures of importance for food systems and their development.

· Understand how food related policies govern food systems


· Is able map relevant actors within a given food system

· Is able to analyze societal and institutional issues of relevance for the development of food related policies or strategies.

· Can apply relevant theoretical frameworks and concepts to analyze governance of food systems


· I able to reflect on the key concepts of the theories presented, and discuss their relevance for new food systems.

· Should, using a food systems approach, able to discuss how complex issues related to the food sector can be handled. 

None are required
Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The type of instruction at the course will include lectures, plenary and group discussions, seminars, individual and group exercises, student presentations, project work, supervision and feedback from teachers, and peer feedback.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Class Instruction
  • 4
  • Preparation
  • 44
  • Theory exercises
  • 25
  • Excursions
  • 12
  • Project work
  • 98
  • Guidance
  • 2
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
Type of assessment details
The exam includes a discussion of the project report as well as questions in the curriculum.

No time for preparation.
Exam registration requirements

To register for the exam, a written report must be submitted and approved. The report is made individually or in groups and submitted at the end of the course, before the exam.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Two internal examiners

As the ordinary exam.

If a project report is not handed in, or not approved, at the ordinary exam, then a report must be handed in two weeks prior to the re-exam. 


Criteria for exam assesment

The assessment is based on the criteria given by the Learning Outcomes