Conference Agenda

RN05_06a: Food and stratification
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Jessica Paddock, University of Bristol
Location: BS.G.34
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road


Healthiness And Food Practices Among Socio-Economically Disadvantaged: From Resources And Lifestyles Towards Navigating Contested Everyday Processes

Bente Halkier, Lotte Holm

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Poverty and socio-economic insecurity is related to ill health and inequality in health. This is well established in epidemiological studies and at population level (Phelan et al., 2010) and it is partly ascribed to social differentiation of food consumption and dietary health. However, the social processes in the micro-level foundations of the connection between socio-economic status and health status are decidedly under-researched (McDaniel, 2013). In this paper, we present a review of sociological literature on socio-economically disadvantaged citizens and their relations with food and health. The review represents parts of the first phase of a new empirical qualitative research project in Denmark, which addresses food practices among disadvantaged men and women and seek to understand how they link to dietary health. In two dominant perspectives in this research field the inequality is viewed in a resource and a lifestyle perspective, respectively. While acknowledging the analytical contributions of these perspectives, we suggest that a next step is to explore the potentials of a practice theoretical perspective (Warde, 2016) for analysis of the minute everyday life processes linking social disadvantage to dietary ill health. However, a practice theoretical perspective has some analytical challenges, which need to be addressed when applied to the research field of social disadvantage, health and food. This includes a more explicit incorporation of social inequalities and cultural hierarchy (Watson, 2016), a closer scrutiny of the gendering of practices and a stronger focus on the social interaction (Keller & Halkier, 2014).

The Relationship Between Socioeconomic Position And Fish Consumption In Finland During 1985-2016

Antti Kalle Akseli Kähäri

University of Turku, Finland

Food consumption is related to socioeconomic position as measured by income, education and occupation. These factors reflect different forms of capital. Healthiness of diet is one dimension where socioeconomic groupings differ in opportunities and choices. This study uses fish consumption as a window to health and environment related consumption and assesses how the association of income, education and fish consumption has changed during the last 30 years in Finland. Data used are the Finnish Household Budget Surveys (HBS) from 1985 to 2016. The results show that, over time, income has become a more important predictor of fish consumption, while the association between education and fish consumption has remained stable. Results are discussed from the points of view of inequality, environment and public health.

Knowledge Production, Policymaking and Local Blurring of Food Production Practices

Rachel Reckinger

University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Alternative Food Networks (AFN) constitute a niche for cultural shifts through renewed forms of trust and community, reinforcing social and ecological justice. Heterodox actors in the transition to more sustainable food systems create new forms of knowledge, that are contested, co-constructed and potentially conflictual – particularly in regard to established, conventional and mainstream Local Food Systems (LFS) that also claim sustainability, animal welfare, authentic localism etc. for themselves. The political dimension of this knowledge production is also perceivable within the organic sector itself, where the ‘older’ generation feels a risk of fragmentation and lack of solidarity on behalf of ‘new’ initiatives such as permaculture, non-certified organic producers etc. that reinvent direct marketing and bypass established wholesale and supermarket retail paths.

My analysis focuses on negotiations and interrelations among actors in a multifaceted foodscape, sometimes blurring distinctions between organic and otherwise sustainable productions. I view the interconnectedness and agency of niche innovations as well regime hegemonies in contemporary Luxembourg, by drawing on qualitative interviews with relevant stakeholders. How are dynamics of “knowing and growing food in a contested arena” (Goodman et al., 2014) negotiated?

At the same time, two legislation periods with green politicians in the government (since 2013) have favored a self-perception of enabling policymaking for the governance of food systems and the explicit valorisation of their ongoing transformation by civil society movements, and by encouraging meeting spaces for multi-stakeholderism. What can we retain from those tensions in order to support relevant policies to solve current controversies within the food system?

Between Distinctiveness and Standardisation. The Various Sensual Landscapes of Buying and Selling Fresh Produce in Berlin

Linda Hering1, Julia Fülling2

1Technical University Berlin, Germany; 2Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

The advancing globalization and the associated infrastructures, technologies and institutions enable consumers to experience a wide variety of different products from all over the world throughout the year. At the same time, this has been driving forward the standardisation of shapes, sizes, colours and varieties of fresh produce consumers can purchase. Grocery chains are displacing traditional local markets and owner-led stores and thus the social and sensual perception which are associated with them.

However, our experience in sensing food is not reduced to the fresh produce itself but to the whole spatial-material environment of shopping, the different shapes and sizes of the buildings as well as the variety of products and prices on offer. Completely new and mostly standardised building structures (e.g. free stander) cause various spatial effects as they appear inclusive/exclusive or are associated with different forms of knowledge (e.g. about the expected prices/qualities).

We compare four districts in Berlin, which differ in not only in the quantity and selection of different food retailers but also in their building structure and social composition. By applying an interdisciplinary research approach (sociological/geographical), we investigate the sensual experiences and related spatial knowledge of consumers and traders when buying and selling fresh produce. It turns out that the sensual experience when shopping for food in grocery shops is embedded into the neighbourhood in a very distinctive way and is charged with diverse social meanings by different types of consumers and traders.