Lawrence Busch

Lawrence  Busch
  • University Distinguished Professor Emeritus
  • Department of Sociology
  • PhD, Cornell University, 1974
  • M.A. Cornell University, 1972
  • B.A. Hofstra University, 1965
  • 429A Berkey Hall
  • 509 E. Circle Drive
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • 517-355-3396


Lawrence Busch


Lawrence Busch is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Michigan State University. He has been on the faculty at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Lancaster University (UK), and what is now the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement. He is (co)author or (co)editor of 16 books and ~150 other publications. He is past president of both the Rural Sociological Society and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole, an elected member of the Académie d’Agriculture de France and recipient of a doctor honoris causa from the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. Dr. Busch's current interests include the use of standards in public and private policy making, biotechnology and nanotechnology policy, agricultural science and technology policy, higher education in agriculture, and public participation in the policy process and the consequences of neoliberal policies for democratic governance. He is currently working on a book on markets.


Social scientists have allowed economists to define and delimit most of the work on markets. Even sociologists have tended to accept the work of mainstream economists, arguing that what is needed is merely to add embeddedness. This involves accepting economists’ assumption about markets, including methodological individualism and the belief that actually existing markets are merely deviations from the ideal. In contrast, my current research involves rethinking the place of markets by beginning with actually existing markets. When one does so, a quite different understanding emerges – one that has more in common with the understandings of markets derived from classical anthropology.


Busch, L. 2020. “Contested Terrain: The Ongoing Struggles over Food Labels, Standards and Standards for Labels,” in A. Mallard and B. Laurent, eds., Labelling the Economy, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming.

Busch, L. 2019. “The New Autocracy in Food and Agriculture,” in G. Allaire and B. Daviron, eds., Ecology, Capitalism and the New Agricultural Economy: The Second Great Transformation. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp.95-109. [English version of above.]

Busch, L. 2017. Knowledge for Sale: The Neoliberal Takeover of Higher Education. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (English edition of French version with new preface.)

Busch, L. 2017. “Is Resistance Futile? How Global Agri-Food Attempts to Co-opt the Alternatives,” in A. Bonanno and S. Wolf, eds., Resistance to Neoliberal Agri-Food: A Critical Analysis. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 21-34.

Busch, L. 2017. “La Nouvelle Autocratie Agroalimentaire,” pp. 213-226 in G. Allaire et B. Daviron, eds. Transformations et Transitions dans l’Agriculture et l’Agroalimentaire. Paris : Editions Quae.

Busch, L. 2017. “Standards and Their Problems,” Research in Rural Sociology and Development, 24: 97-114.

Busch, L. 2017. "Standards and Their Problems: From Technical Specifications to World-Making," Research in Rural Sociology and Development 24: 97-114.

Busch, L. 2017. “Looking in the Wrong (La)place? The Promise and Perils of Becoming Big Data,” Science, Technology & Human Values, 42: 657-678.

Busch, L. 2017. “Herbert Hoover and the Construction of Modernity,” Journal of Innovation Economics and Management, 22: 29-55.

Busch, L. 2016. Real Myths = False Truths: Securing America’s Future. Available free online at 

Busch, L. 2016. “Individual Choice and Social Values: Choice in the Agrifood Sector,” Journal of Consumer Culture, 16(1): 124-143.

Busch, L. and D. Stuart. 2015.  “Agricultural Sciences and Technology,” pp. 471-476 in J. D. Wright, ed.  International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Oxford: Elsevier, 2ndedition, volume 1.

Bonanno, A. and L. Busch, eds. 2015. Handbook of the International Political Economy of Agriculture and Food. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. My contribution is A. Bonanno and L. Busch, “The International Political Economy of Agriculture and Food: An Introduction,” pp. 1-15.

Hatanaka, M, and L. Busch. 2015. “How Standards Make Food and Agriculture Global,” Academia (Japan) 152: 3-15.

Thompson, P. B., L. Busch and J. V. Stone. 2015. “Standards Education in the Liberal Arts:  Curricular Materials and Educational Strategies,” Standards Engineering, 67 (4):12-15.


  • African Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • Center for Advanced Studies in International Development