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Examining Neoliberal and Nationalist Portrayals of Addressing Food Insecurity at the 2015 World Expo

Alana Haynes Stein, Nadia Smiecinska


This working paper examines how countries at the 2015 World Expo addressed the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” We examine countries’ depictions of solutions to “Feeding the Planet,” identifying neoliberal and gastronational tendencies present. Since the majority of countries used this opportunity to present their take on the Expo’s theme to more than 20 million visitors and additional onlookers, the 2015 World Expo, the first Expo focused on food, is important for studying how nation-states portray solutions to world hunger in an international context.

This paper addresses the questions: How do countries propose to address world hunger? What does the role of the State look like in these solutions? This paper uses ethnography of the 2015 World Expo and discourse analysis of the official Expo websites of the participating countries in order to examine the countries’ representation of issues at the 2015 World Expo as well as their description of their participation at the Expo.

Our preliminary findings show that countries displayed neoliberal and gastronational tendencies as they provided solutions to world hunger. Sometimes, countries even portrayed these two seemingly, conflicting ideologies together. The way countries portray solutions to food insecurity in this context is important for understanding how nation-states conceptualize the realm of possibilities when making food policy. Thus, we seek to interrogate the dominant themes present within their solutions at the 2015 World Expo in order to see what is within realm of possibility for food security policy making in the near future.

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