This article contributes to the consolidation and synthesis of scholarship on collaborative governance by expanding our knowledge of how the term is used in the academic literature and policy documents in a range of European countries. It adds value to the existing reviews of the field by conducting a systematic literature review on a corpus of over 700 article abstracts and a traditional literature review identifying five key analytical dimensions. The article also provides an exploratory analysis of grey literature hitherto outside the purview of researchers and considers the linguistic and cultural connotations that alter the meaning of the term when translated into new contexts in ten EU/EFTA countries. Findings indicate heterogeneity and fuzziness in the way the concept is used. The article argues that explicit positions with respect to five main analytical dimensions and taking into account the national connotations that the term carries across political systems would inject more clarity into the academic discourse. This, in turn, will help policymakers to make informed use of the concept, especially in multi-national policy-making arenas.
This article identifies a hitherto understudied element of local food communities, namely their potential as counter-movements to nationalist discourses, practices and policies. This potential should be particularly valuable in Eastern Europe, where European integration has been severely contested over the past years by political elites. We support our argument by a closer qualitative inquiry into two cases; one with urban-rural dimensions in the metropolitan area of Budapest and one in a more sparsely populated cross-border region at the Slovak-Hungarian border. Based on 18 interviews with coordinators, producers and consumers, numerous visits to both sites, and studying the organisations’ documents we conclude that the growth of local food communities contributes to strengthened solidarity in local communities. Although nationalist discourses on buying domestic are rarely contested explicitly, the lack of any reference to national movements and discourses testifies to the primary importance of the local.