Thesis Title [working title]: Revitalising Food Democracy: towards a sensible politics of eating
Primary Supervisor: Dr Mara Miele
Secondary Supervisor: Professor Kevin Morgan
Reviewer: Dr Alex Franklin
Starting Date: January 2013
Completion Date: December 2015
Funding Source: Presidents Research Scholarship
- MA Anthropology of Food; School of Oriental and African Studies 2009
- BA (Hons) Politics and International Studies; University of Warwick 2007
Food democracy, eating and consumption practices, participatory research, more-than-human geographies, sensory ethnography, Jacques Rancière and dissensus
Participation in the food system has often been understood as limited to one of two roles: that of the active citizen, often through alternative food networks, or passive consumer (Lang and Heasman 2004). This dichotomy is becoming increasingly untenable (Morgan 2010, Tregear 2011) and theories of publics (eg Latour 2004, Marres 2012, Whatmore and Landström 2011) show that situated embodied practices can shape environments in ways which are not visible in political institutions and processes. In order to revitalise ‘food democracy’ (Lang 1999), a connection can be drawn between such ‘material publics’ and Jacques Rancière’s work on dissensus, to consider food politics as collective endeavours that manifest ways of being which disrupt the givenness of the world.
Food democracy therefore requires a sensibleapproach. Firstly, to be sense-able enables us to take seriously the ways in which we collectively both sense the world and make sense of it (Evans and Miele 2012). Secondly, being sensible offers a pragmatic point from which to engage such theories of the public with the ways in which food practices already exceed and supplant current discourses of food democracy.
The research therefore uses sensory ethnography of everyday food practices to develop a more holistic understanding of the politics of eating. Following this competency groups will engage experts and laypeople with these everyday practices in an attempt to revitalise the practice of ‘food democracy’ with the help of these knowledges.
'Revitalising Food Democracy'. Presented at CPLAN Postgraduate Food Conference, February 2014.