Harmonising devolved responsibility for biosecurity governance: The challenge of competing institutional logics

Vaughan Higgins, Melanie Bryant, Marta Hernandez-Jover, Connar McShane, Luzia Rast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


Harmonisation of disease management practices across global space and the devolution of responsibility to a broader range of actors are two increasingly important approaches for ordering biosecurity governance. While these forms of ordering have been examined individually, the social science biosecurity literature provides limited insights into how they interact and interfere with one another, and the consequences for biosecurity implementation. This paper draws upon an institutional logics approach to examine the different and competing logics through which government agencies, industry bodies and farming enterprises engage in biosecurity. It focuses specifically on the ways in which these logics pose challenges for harmonisation of biosecurity as well as create alternative spaces of negotiation for making life safe. Through the analysis of policy documents and semi-structured interviews with government and industry stakeholders, as well as with beef producers, we identify three institutional logics being the neoliberal, productivist and agrarian logics. We argue that the existence of multiple logics poses significant challenges for efforts to achieve improved harmonisation of biosecurity in an environment of devolved responsibility to industry, farming bodies and producers. In this context, greater emphasis by stakeholders on the productivist logic holds the most potential for improving biosecurity implementation in that it works with existing agricultural circulations and flows, and with producers' herd health practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1151
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


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