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Taking back taste: feminism, food and visceral politics

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Despite much thoughtful agro-food scholarship, the politics of food lacks adequate appreciation because scholars have not developed a means to specify the links between the materialities of food and ideologies of food and eating. This article uses feminist theory to enliven a discussion of what the authors call visceral politics, and thus initiates a project of illustrating the mechanisms through which people's beliefs about food connect with their everyday experiences of food. Recent work on governed eating and material geographies is brought together with poststructural feminism in order to move towards a non-dualistic, visceral understanding of (everyday) socio-political life. In showing how the mind-body whole can be conceived as a singular, albeit ambiguously-unified agent, the article prefigures a more complete disclosure of the play of power in food systems. Food is shown as a means to trace power through the body in order to understand the making of the political (eating) subject. Specifically, reconceptualizing taste and the 'Slow Food' (SF) movement of taste education helps to concretize what a visceral politics of food might look like. The authors conclude that appreciating how food beliefs and representations exist materially in the body is crucial to the ability of food-based movements to inspire action across difference and achieve their progressive goals.

Keywords: Foucault; biopolitics; body; feminist geography; food

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Clark University, Riverton, NJ, USA 2: Penn State University, USA

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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