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A taste of food insecurity: towards a capacity for eating well

Colebrooke, Laura 2016. A taste of food insecurity: towards a capacity for eating well. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis considers food insecurity in Bristol through an analysis of taste. Using a bricolage of ethnographic methods designed to bring the sensory elements of food practices to the fore, I worked with three projects in the city to examine the socio-materialities of food insecurity as they are felt within people’s daily lives. Working with an Emergency Food Aid (EFA) charity, a community bus scheme and a cookery course for socially isolated people, I contribute to geographical understandings of food insecurity by looking in places and attuning to senses, feelings and affects that are otherwise invisible. Inspired by material-semiotics – where nonhumans matter – and including ideas of affect, I move away from a static definition of food insecurity as ‘access to a good diet’ and instead develop ideas of taste, which I define as capacity for eating well. I use capacity to ground a critical analysis of inequality within the social and material relations of embodied life. I use eating well to bring the more-than-human collectivities into the frame, accounting for the care-full socio-materialities at play in food encounters. Importantly, I move beyond an ontology of individual rational agents and a focus on empowered choice as a solution to insecurity. The empirical material shows that practices of good taste are contingent and fragile, shaped by the material-affective conditions of food encounters; that interdependencies rather than individual empowerment enable us to eat well; and that precarious living conditions produce affects that can be decisive factors in whether we eat well or go hungry. Ultimately, this taste-full approach places a critical analysis of food insecurity within the messy entanglements of food practices and opens up new spaces for understanding and tackling the issue.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Food Insecurity, Food Poverty, Food Banks, Cultural Geography, Taste, Affect, Actor-Network Theories, Material-Semiotics, Sensory Ethnography, More-Than-Human Geographies.
Funders: President Scholarship
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 September 2017
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2021 14:33

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