Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Shoup, Brian D.

Committee Member

Stanisevski, Dragan

Committee Member

Travis, Rick

Committee Member

Hossfeld, Leslie

Committee Member

Banerjee, Vasabjit

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


This dissertation develops a theory about the consolidation of state legitimacy given transformations in food security. Food security has moved from a national food maximization effort to the provision of food to households and individuals, regardless of the production source. This definitional change was triggered by urbanization, industrialization of agriculture and liberalization of trade. These dynamics altered the formula for balance and control of a country’s territory; as agricultural output moved into a global context, urban centers became less reliant on its periphery for sustenance and thus governments have fewer incentives to provide governance of any quality to rural areas. Hence, the expansion of industrialized production has led to an increasing volume of international food exchanges and reliance on transnational networks for food provision. This, I argue, produced a decoupling of rural and urban areas, yielding a new form of governance in the periphery, which relies on negative legitimacy and the expansion of large-scale agriculture under public-private partnerships. This dissertation challenges conventional approaches to modern state consolidation in the sense that the monopoly of violence in the territory is no longer the core of state legitimacy. Rather, alternatives now exist that make possible the consolidation of state political power. Methodologically, this dissertation follows the critical case study approach. While it may sacrifice some external validity in terms of generalizability, it maximizes internal validity through careful process tracing. By tracing the trajectory of rural areas for state formation, agricultural policies, the concept of rural citizen and the interaction between rural and urban areas, this dissertation expresses in-depth knowledge of policy outcomes due to the change in food security. Utilizing findings from Colombia, before and after the 1990´s, this dissertation illustrates the impacts of a change in the concept of food security and its effects on the administrative capacity in rural areas. Findings indicate that large scale agricultural policies and violence concentrated rural land ownership into export productive commodities and altered the structure of rural governance. While food security initiatives and policies has been a boon to world health, this dissertation illustrates how it has also brought about changes in state consolidation.