Is shopping for food really a political act?
Why is it that, in a world with enough food for everyone, more people than ever go hungry?
Why did the French resistance against genetically modified foods become a fight against McDonalds?
Why did the foot-and-mouth epidemic in the UK become a problem for consumers?
Capable of connecting human bodies to abstract nations, and techno-science to moral concerns, food has become one of the most contested fields of our time. It is high on the political agenda throughout the world. With disease, contamination, famine, hunger and imbalanced food markets all unfortunate realities, a book that interrogates the politics of food is long overdue.
From the BSE outbreak in the 1990s through to cultural taboos and the genetic modification of produce and livestock, this timely book raises provocative questions about how we relate to food in the 21st century. Recent food scandals and genetically modified organism controversies have shattered the idea that 'food is food' as we have always known it, and exposed fundamental dilemmas related to risk and control. Taking as its starting point the premise that food is politicized in arenas not commonly thought of as political, The Politics of Food explores issues surrounding the development of global food markets in underdeveloped nations and addresses recent events that have had a profound impact on how consumers feel about what they eat. The epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease that swept through the UK in 2001 spawned a series of questions concerning the real costs of cheap food. What lessons have been learned? And how are food choices linked to the politics of food markets?
With globalization, food has increasingly become entangled in webs of political significance. Through ethnographic case studies, this book reveals how food has come to serve a key role in political resistance, grassroots activism and nation-building. Anyone interested in globalization, food safety, or what food choices say about food politics will find this book essential reading.
'This is a deeply rewarding collection of articles and insights. It reflects and draws brilliantly on contemporary social science's welcome return of interest to the subject of food.' Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University, London 'A refreshingly dispassionate look at politically explosive issues of risk, rights, identity, trade, globalization, and security. Avoiding polemics and advocacy, this collection offers clear and insightful analysis of how modern food problems are constructed and contested.' Warren Belasco, Editor of Food, Culture and Society, University of Maryland. 'The Politics of Food concretely demonstrates that local contexts do, in fact, shape larger settings, even as governments, corporations, social movements, and other institutions define the moral grounds of culture. Mapping social connections across a variety of sites, this book deepens our understanding of how food practices shape the human landscape.' Alice Julier, Smith College and President, Association for the Study of Food and Society. 'A sound collection of essays on an important contemporary political issue' Alan Warde, University of Manchester. 'The Politics of Food Contains a set of dispassionate and welcome essays on global food systems.' Jules Pretty, The Times Higher Education Supplement 'Overall, the volume is a good contribution to food studies and will, it is to be hoped, provide "food for thought" and an incentivie for further research on the topic' Liza Debevec, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute