The articles in this second special issue of the International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food on private agri-food standards consider key issues involved in the shift from government to governance within agri-food systems. The first special issue, published in February 2013, focused on ‘the contestation, hybridity and the politics of standards’ (Bain et al., 2013, p. 1). The articles in the first issue complicated our understanding of the relationship between public and private standards by examining the politics associated with their formation, implementation, and outcomes. At the same time, the first special issue drew attention to the diversity of private standards, and the spaces that exist – or get created – for actors to contest the values, content or outcomes of such standards. These are important themes, revisited in the second special issue. However, the concern with the politics of standards is extended through more systematic attention to the relationship between standards, certification, and the governance of agri-food supply chains.

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Copyright © 2013, International Sociological Association. This article first appeared in International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food: 20:2 (2013), 147-154.

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