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Whiteness and Farmers Markets: Performances, Perpetuations  …  Contestations?

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Abstract:  Academics and activists highlight the potential for alternative agrifood movements to contribute to the evolving coalescence of justice and sustainability. This potential, however, is constrained by what scholars have identified as the prevalent whiteness of such movements. This paper uses ethnographic research at two northern California farmers markets to investigate how whiteness is performed and perpetuated through the movements’ discourses and practices. We found that many managers, vendors and customers hold notions of what farmers and community members should be that both reflect and inform an affluent, liberal habitus of whiteness. Although whiteness pervades these spaces, we have also witnessed individual discourses and acts of solidarity and anti‐racism, as well as fledgling institutional efforts to contest white cultural dominance. We conclude by discussing the potential of farmers markets to create an anti‐racist politics of food.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, University of the Pacific, California, USA; 2: Department of Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz, USA;

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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