Conveyor and Institution: Basil Bornemann, University of Basel
Esther Seha, Leuphana University Lueneburg
Abstract: World hunger, obesity, animal welfare, urban gardening, and food waste: No matter where one looks today, food is at the center of attention and is currently undergoing a pronounced process of politicization. The array of food-related problems is extensive and diverse. Challenges range from farm to fork as well as from the global to the local and connect ecological, social, cultural, and economic concerns throughout the food system.. While the plethora of current food concerns is almost endless, all issues do however have in common that they challenge prevailing societal lifestyles, beliefs and values, discourses and practices as well as conceptions of society and politics more generally. Food issues have become important vehicles for bringing up fundamental debates about the sustainability, democracy, and governance of modern societies. Touching upon these political meta-discourses, food therefore serves as a relevant venue for understanding politics in the 21st century.
The proposed panel strives to shed light on current food issues and their implications for sustainability, governance, and democracy from an interpretive perspective: How can interpretive analysis help to understand current food-related problems and policies? How and by what means are food issues framed and politicized? What are the commonalities and differences between the various food debates? How do they challenge and transform current understandings and practices of sustainability, democracy, and governance?
In order to explore these questions, we invite theoretical and empirical contributions that analyze current food controversies with reference to sustainability, governance, and democracy from an interpretive perspective. By focusing on these political meta-discourses, the panel aims at integrating findings about individual food issues and at uncovering the role and meaning of food as an instance of political transformation.