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Food, Politics, and Society (Level 7)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Jason Edwards
  • Assessment: a 1000-word learning journal (20%) and 4000-word essay (80%)

Module description

This module explores the political and social dimensions of the production, distribution and consumption of food and drink. It is an interdisciplinary module that uses resources from political sociology, political theory, history and anthropology in order to illuminate our understanding of the political and social character of the food system in the modern world

Indicative module syllabus

  • The Birth of Agriculture
  • The Columbian Exchange
  • Food, Drink and the Public Sphere
  • Courtly Cuisines
  • Food and Industrialisation
  • Ritual and Religion I: Feasting and Fasting
  • Ritual and Religion II: Purity and Danger
  • Food and Identity: ‘National’ Cuisines and ‘Ethnic Food’
  • Alcohol and the State
  • Food and the City: Geographies of Supply, Consumption and Waste
  • The Political Economy of Global Food System
  • Famines, Wars and Starvation
  • Food and Social Movements
  • Food and Global Security
  • Food Choices
  • Food, Biotechnology, Biopolitics and Bioethics
  • Food, the Media and Celebrity Cooks

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand and critically evaluate arguments about the main theoretical debates concerning the relationship between food, politics and society, and to communicate these arguments and propose your own arguments to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of key subjects in the historical and political sociology, and the economic and cultural geography of food production and consumption
  • apply the methods and techniques learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply your knowledge of key subjects in the historical and political sociology of food production and consumption, and in current issues and problems around the production and consumption of food, such as malnutrition, regulation of food markets, food security
  • critically analyse current issues and problems around the production and consumption of food, such as malnutrition and famines, regulation of food markets, food security, food identity and the effects of climate change on global food supply.