BISR Food Group: Poor Choice? Adam Smith and the Moral Economy of Food Consumption

Venue: Birkbeck Main Building
Booking details: No booking required

BISR Food Group: Poor Choice? Adam Smith and the Moral Economy of Food Consumption

Speaker: Ben Richardson, University of Warwick

In the second of this term's BISR Food Group Seminars, Ben Richardson will examine how moral evaluations of consumption relate to economic governance, looking specifically at those evaluations which trade on the assumption that poor people make poor choices. He will do so with reference to food bank usage and obesity in the UK, both of which have been interpreted under the Conservative governments of David Cameron (2010-2016) as a failing of personal responsibility and identified primarily with the poor working class. First he will trace the Hayekian lineage of this rhetoric, especially its disciplinary function in limiting political claims for social justice, and thereby offer one rationale for its appeal to both neoliberals and conservatives. Put simply, moral condemnation has facilitated market consent. Secondly, he will shown how another account of personal responsibility is possible, one which maintains a commitment to the dignity of individual autonomy without succumbing to the necessity of neoliberalism to guarantee it. He calls this interpersonal responsibility and demonstrates its foundations can be found in Adam Smith's conceptual apparatus of sympathy and self-command.

This event is free and open to all: First come, first seated

For more information about the BISR Food Group, please contact Jason Edwards.

Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) is the focal point for social research at Birkbeck and a hub for the dissemination and discussion of social research in London and beyond.

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Speakers Ben Richardson