Some initial thoughts on the ecological crisis and food utopias

  • John Lever (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Since the middle of the 20th century, the long-term development of the industrial food system has met with increasing criticism. Nutritional and ecological analysis paints a worrying picture of poor diet, ill health, biodiversity loss and climate breakdown. Two utopian visions about the future of food have subsequently emerged, which Belasco (2006) refers to as technological and anthropological fixes. In the first vision, it’s argued that technology can deliver clean and affordable food and that the food system can continue along the same trajectory. Proponents of the second vision argue that we need to dramatically change what and how we eat for the food system to be sustainable into the future. But food is not the same for everyone everywhere and it is still largely bound up with social structures and power (Mennell, 1985). I argue that both utopian visions thus rest on a fundamental misrepresentation of the social (or ontological) status of food, a situation that we, as Eliasian sociologists, can help to remedy.
Period7 Sep 2022
Event titleSURGE: Towards an Eliasian Understanding of Food in the 21st Century
Event typeConference
LocationHuddersfield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational