The Politics of Food

Everybody eats. But why do we eat what we eat and what are the social, economic, and ecological effects of how we eat? Through utilizing the sociological imagination this course will connect our personal relationships with food to the broader social forces that make them public issues and social problems. We are raised to eat cows and pigs but not cats or dogs. Burger King commercials tell us that eating meat is masculine and eating salads is feminine. Scientists engineer Cheetos and Doritos so that we get hooked. Baby spinach and strawberries are more expense than Top Ramen. Farmers markets are all the rage in affluent communities but low-income communities struggle to find fresh affordable produce. At the same time, many farmers don’t make enough to live on and the majority of farm workers are paid almost nothing for their labor. What is structuring our food system to produce such a world of cultural beliefs and gendered messages? How does state policy and corporate power shape the choices we make? Why is the food system rife with social inequities? These are just a few of the big picture questions we shall investigate in The Politics of Food.

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