Coventry University | Dr. Mark Tilzey

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Dr. Mark Tilzey

Senior Research Fellow, Governance of Food Systems for Resilience

Research Vision

My research is inspired by the imperative to build future societies that have both social equity and ecological sustainability at their heart, founded on a synergy, rather than ‘balance’, between these elements. I see agroecology as lying at the heart of this vision, one that, with appropriate policies and institutions, has the capacity to deliver food security, biodiversity and natural resource conservation, climate stability and social justice. My research focuses on the political economy and ecology of the opportunities and constraints that surround efforts to ‘mainstream’ agroecology into the structures of agricultural, food and environmental governance. In particular, I am interested in the dynamics of conformity, accommodation, resistance, and opposition to currently dominant neoliberal forms of agri-food and environmental governance.


Dr Mark Tilzey is Senior Research Fellow in the Governance of Food Systems for Resilience. His research interests lie in political ecology, food regimes, agrarian change and agroecology, agri-environmental politics and governance, and the international political economy of agri-food systems. Mark is also a qualified ecologist with a particular interest in landscape and historical ecology. He has taken a lead role in a significant number of research projects, including a Leverhulme Trust project addressing Agricultural Multifunctionality in the WTO (a multi-country study exploring the relationship between neoliberalism and agricultural sustainability), DEFRA/CEH/FERA/NERC AgriLand, Natural England (EU Agri-Environmental Policy), Carnegie Trust UK (Asset-based Rural Development), UK Food Group (Mapping UK Government Thinking on Globalisation).

Mark has published journal articles, book chapters, and monographs addressing sustainable agriculture, political economy and the governance of food systems, political ecology, and agri-environmental policy. His research currently focuses on the political ecology of neoliberalism in the agri-food and environment sectors, changes in agri-food and environmental governance, and on the study of interest groups and social movements proposing/opposing these trends, and on nature-society relations more broadly. These concerns focus around ‘post-development’ theory in which there is a foregrounding of ecological sustainability and social equity issues, with particular reference to agroecology and food sovereignty. Mark has undertaken research in Europe, Australia, North America, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region. He has most recently been working on constructions of neoliberal hegemony in Australian agri-environmental governance.


  • Tilzey, M (2010) Conservation and Sustainability, in Bowler, I, Bryant, R and Cocklin, C (eds) The Sustainability of Rural Systems: geographical interpretations, Kluwer (revised edition), 151-172. 
  • Tilzey, M (2010) Critique of Multifunctional Agriculture: A Transition Theory Perspective. Land Use Policy, 27, 3, 992-999. 
  • Tilzey, M 2009 Neoliberalising Global Agriculture: The Food Crisis and the ‘First’ and ‘Second’ Contradictions of Capitalism. Proceedings of the XXIII ESRS Congress 2009 Mini-plenary Session RC-40 Theoretical perspectives on the Food Crisis
  • Tilzey, M. and Potter, C. (2008) Productivism versus Post-productivism? Contested Political Economies in Post-Fordist Agricultural Transitions, in Robinson, G (ed) Sustainable Rural Systems: Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Communities, Ashgate, 41-63. 
  • Tilzey, M. and Potter, C. (2012) Neo-liberalism, Neo-mercantilism and Multifunctionality: Contested Political Discourses in European Post-Fordist Rural Governance, in Cheshire, L, Higgins, V and Lawrence, G (eds) International Perspectives on Rural Governance: New Power Relations in Rural Economies and Societies, Routledge, 115-129. 
  • Potter, C. and Tilzey, M. (2007) Agricultural Multifunctionality, Environmental Sustainability and the WTO: Resistance or Accommodation to the Neo-liberal Project for Agriculture? Geoforum 38, 6, 1290-1303. 
  • Tilzey, M. (2006) Neo-liberalism, the WTO and New Modes of Agri-environmental Governance in the European Union, the USA and Australia, International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 14 (1), 1-30. 
  • Potter, C. and Tilzey, M. (2005) Agricultural Policy Discourses in the European Post-Fordist Transition: neo-liberalism, neo-mercantilism and multifunctionality, Progress in Human Geography, 29, 5, 581-601. 
  • Tilzey, M. (2000) Natural Areas, Sustainable Agriculture and the Whole Countryside Approach, Land Use Policy 17, 279-294. 
  • Tilzey, M. (2000) Mapping UK Government Thinking on Globalisation, UK Food Group Discussion Paper, 1-96.


  • Agricultural Multifunctionality in the WTO: Uneven development of neoliberalism in agri-environmental policy under WTO governance. 
  • Asset-based Rural Development for Livelihood Resilience: Study of alternative and ecologically-based rural development as solution to insecure livelihoods in the rural periphery
  • Review of the England Rural Development Programme and its Potential Contribution to Integrated Rural Development: Study of the compatibility between the ERDP and the objectives of IRD
  • Review of Upland Agricultural Policy and the Implications of CAP Scheme Conflicts for Farm Business Operations: Study of the contradictory policies within the CAP for upland farming environments. 
  • The Transition to Sustainability in the Norfolk Arable Area Land Management Initiative: Evaluation of the success of sustainability initiatives in the NAA. 
  • Evaluation of SSSI Condition in Cumbria: Survey of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Cumbria to evaluate their condition. 
  • Mapping UK Government Thinking on Globalisation: Study of UK government attitudes to globalisation/neoliberalism with particular reference to agriculture, food, and environmental policy. 
  • AgriLand: Study linking land use change to declines in biodiversity, with special reference to pollinators. 
  • Post-Productivist Agri-Environmental Initiatives in Australia, Europe and the USA: Comparative political ecology of post-productivism in Australia, Europe and the USA.
  • Caring for our Country? The Making and Maintenance of Neoliberal Hegemony in Australian Natural Resource Governance: A study of the formation and maintenance of the neoliberal norm-complex in Australian agri-environmental governance.
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Senior Research Fellow, Governance of Food Systems for Resilience

Building: Ryton Gardens
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