A year in the life of an Assistant Professor at RSO

At the one year anniversary of starting my position as Assistant Professor in Food Sociology, I thought I should get around to writing a blog and reflecting on this wild year of getting to know RSO, WUR, and the Netherlands.

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Oona Morrow; Photo taken by Jantine Messing, in Devon 2018

At the end of February last year I boarded a plane with my partner and our cat bound for Amsterdam. We were excited, but also had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. A few weeks later I began teaching Origin Food, a required course in the MFT Gastronomy specialization. And Dirk Roep and my patient students put up with me as I bumbled my way through EU food policies on GI protection, and lectured in a brand new course. We visited local cheese makers and gastronomic ventures, and my students helped me wrap my head around the many ways one could enjoy the humble cheese sandwich – with mustard, ketchup, or just plain (my personal favourite is now with Appel Stroop). Somehow we all survived, and now I am happy to be supervising some of these students on their thesis research on the diverse economies of Sago in Indonesia and food tourism and shellfish livelihoods in Portugal.

I gave guest lectures here and there, one as part of a seminar on co-creation at CSPS. And afterwards my colleague Anke approached me to discuss how we could incorporate co-creation more intentionally into our research practices. We decided to try out an approach that I had learned from the community economies research network in the CSPS Foodscapes cluster. The cluster now meets monthly to read papers, workshop research in progress, and offers a convivial environment for reflection, support, and co-creation. It has been such a great place for me to connect with colleagues from across the CSPS section who are interested in critical food studies, foodscapes, diverse food economies, and urban agriculture. Whenever I’m stressed or lost I can always count on this group for an outside perspective or a good laugh. We also organize the Critical Food Studies Speaker series. Several of us are also organizing a session on Cultivating Hope while Getting into Trouble with Community Food Initiatives at the RGS-IBG Conference in London this coming August.

Then in what feels like the blink of an eye, I found myself in the picturesque seaside and rolling hills of Devon, UK. Where I stayed with three other instructors and supervised a group international development students completing their first field work assignment, as part of Elisabet Rasch’s Field Research practical. I remembered how to drive, even on the wrong side, and visited students living with host families and researching everyday life in small towns, villages, and hamlets up and down the coast. I went on some gorgeous hikes and walks, and visited Cardiff for a workshop that Ana Moragues Faus organized on the role of cities in delivering food security and sustainability outcomes. I also spent some time hiding out in my bed/office finishing data analysis and preparing a conference paper for SCORAI. On my walks and drives through the region I couldn’t help feeling home sick, in this little piece of island that so resembled the coastal villages and mill towns I knew from my life in New England – and even with the same place names. Many people who settled New England emigrated from the South of England. The field research experience made a huge impact on my students, who researched everything from the trauma of hoof and mouth disease, to the Brexit feelings of farmers,  to the livelihood strategies of fishermen, to the meaning and experience of sustainability in a Transition Town. I enjoyed watching them move out of their comfort zone and connect with strange new humans, while further developing their research skills.

I also found time to write a few papers, including an article entitled Sharing Food and Risk in Berlin’s Urban Food Commons, for a special issue of Geoforum on urban food sharing economies. The paper brings together current thinking on food commons and urban commons to examine the challenges of managing public fridges in Berlin as commons. The research that the paper is based on was completed with foodsharing.de as part of the ERC Horizon 2020 funded SHARECITY project, led by PI Anna Davies. The special issue is edited by Anna Davies and David Evans and profiles many of the ethnographic findings from the SHARECITY project, as well as research on solidarity food economies, foraging, and food waste presented in an AAG session in Boston that we organized on food sharing. I encourage you to check it out, and many of the papers are open-access.

Over the summer and fall I began supervising a growing cohort of thesis students who were developing research proposals on everything from food policy in Berlin, to urban agriculture in Almere, to vegan instagram influencers in the UK. While they all had me in common as a supervisor, they also shared an interest in understanding agri-food practices from a critical sociological perspective. So, we committed ourselves to organizing as a cohort, sharing tips and resources along the way, enjoying thesis potlucks, and meeting up to celebrate important milestones like finishing proposals, going off to the field, and writing. The 2019 “Foodies” cohort and thesis ring is going strong, and I look forward to continuing the tradition with the next batch of thesis students.

Fast forward some months, in which I even managed to take vacation, and I began teaching the MFT Gastronomy course Food Culture and Custom. This is a course that has been thoughtfully designed and redesigned by RSO’s resident Teacher of the Year Dr. Jessica Duncan. The course covers similar topics and theoretical frameworks to those I had taught in the MLA Gastronomy program at Boston University, so I was pleasantly in my comfort zone. But I also got to dig into some fascinating new material on ethics, moral philosophy, and cultured meat with Professor Cor van der Weele. Jessica has gone to great lengths to make the course extremely well structured and as interactive as possible, so although we all work really hard – we also have a lot of fun. However, all of these interactive components take a lot of extra time and coordination, so I was very happy to have support from my two excellent teaching assistants – Adele Wilson and Jesse van de Sande. Thank you both!

During my time here, one constant sources of inspiration and belonging has been the Centre for Space, Place, and Society – and especially the CSPS Foodscapes cluster. When I go to a CSPS event or teach in the CSPS Social Theory Phd Seminar I feel that I’ve found my people at WUR. So when Martijn Duineveld suggested that we apply for the CSPS Scientific Director position together as a team – I thought, that sounds great! We’re looking forward to working together to organize an engaging and inclusive CSPS. See you at the next CSPS event and the CSPS Annual Day.

The days and months have flown by. But here I am again, drinking raw milk with my gastronomy students, preparing my lectures, and feeling much more at ease in my new role than this time last year.  I’ve contributed to a few funding bids. And together with Anke de Vrieze and Chizu Sato I was recenty awarded WASS excellence funds to organize a workshop with artists and academics on Arts-Based Methods and Diverse Economies. I have also been granted funds for a research visit to Hamburg University’s Center for Advanced study on the Futures of Sustainability, where I will be Visiting Professor next fall. But, what I’m most excited about right now – besides teaching Origin Food again (with a super engaged group of MFT Gastronomy students), is working together with our CSPS foodscapes colleague Hilje van de Horst to co-supervise my first PhD student Thirza Andriessen. Thirza has been awarded the prestigious and highly competitive WASS PhD fellowship for her research on dignity in alternative forms of food aid. We are so thrilled to be able to work together on this important project and support the development of a budding social scientist at WUR.

 

 

 

 

 

Thesis Opportunities: Diverse economies of food, agriculture, and nature in Galicia, Spain

In the field of diverse economies, researchers have paid particular attention to diverse forms of economic organisation and exchange that make up our food system, disrupting dominant development narratives that privilege capital, markets, wages, private property and mainstream financing (Gibson-Graham, 2006). Examples in the literature are multifunctional agriculture (Renting et al., 2009), communal land use (Soto, 2014; Caballero, 2015), ecosystem service provisioning (Bolund and Hunhammar, 1999; Braat and De Groot, 2012), and sharing food or skills to reduce waste, or foster greater food security (Davies et al., 2017). These manifestations of diverse economies are often captured and explained through the theoretical lens of the social economy, an umbrella term used to describe a variety of third sector, cooperative, voluntary, non-profit, and social enterprise initiatives that put social and environmental well-being before profit.

Problem definition / hypothesis 

In Galicia, a ‘green’ region in the northwest corner of Spain, industrialisation and urbanisation mainly takes part in the coastal area. The mountainous interior consists of forests and pastures for beef and dairy cattle, creating a strong divide between the urban and the rural, and their development pathways. Primary production, with relatively low added value, remains important to Galicia’s economic production. The daily fabric of life, in rural but also in industrial-urban environments, is anchored in what can be termed the social economy. Whilst formal collaborative and/or cooperative approaches to market access or income generation are often lacking, the question pops up – whether and how these everyday practices (can) build upon existing social economy dynamics. This research seeks to understand, how communities in these places negotiate social, economic, and environmental concerns by practicing diverse economies in urban and rural areas, and how these practices can contribute to realizing social economies

Communal forestry and mountain farming

Empirical studies in Galicia on the diverse economies of food, agriculture, and nature (i.e. the local resource base, e.g. ecosystems services, green infrastructure, or more theoretically: ecological capital) will contribute to the (yet often) unrecognised role of the social economy in bringing about economic development in relation to provisioning of ecosystem services and/or green infrastructure.

Depending on the preferences of individual students for empirical research subjects, and a possibly simultaneous implementation of MSc thesis projects,  research subjects can consist of communal (agro) forestry (in urban and/or rural contexts), mountain farming (in more remote rural areas), or a combination of these.

Research topics include but are not limited to:

  • Mapping diverse economies of food, agriculture, and nature: initiatives and projects (focus: forestry and farm activities), community and/or household configurations, collaboration (different aggregation levels), payments and income strategies (private and public goods), availability of regional policy support schemes, support structures for similar initiatives elsewhere
  • Developing strategies to enhance local business opportunities (forestry and farming activities, food and other ecosystem service provisioning in relation to e.g. gastronomy and tourism), identify and describe heterogeneity in best practices, report bottlenecks in relation to place-based development (taking into account spatial relationships)

Planning of an MSc thesis research project

The overall goal of these MSc thesis projects are to a) advance our understanding of the diverse and social economies in rural, peri-urban and urban areas, and b) identify and promote policies, governance models and practices that foster this type of social innovation, with the aim to also enhance more mainstream economic production: contribute to creating value added, market access, and additional farm income for primary producers.

An assignment will be drawn up together with the student: an initial research plan in advance to leaving to Galicia for the field research, and a more definitive plan at arrival, in collaboration with local stakeholders.

Research requires a stay of 3 months or longer at the University of Vigo / in Galicia.

Start date: Spring or Summer 2019

Qualifications:

  • You have training in qualitative methods and are able to conduct qualitative research in Spanish or Galician (Thesis is written in English)
  • You have an interest in engaging diverse stakeholders in participatory and collaborative research
  • You have one or more of the following skills and/or interests: able to use basic excel and mapping tools; interest in diverse economies and social innovation and/or spatial relationships; experience with assessment and evaluation
  • You are registered for one of the following MSc programmes: MID, MCS, MLP, MFT, or MOA
  • You have completed at least 2 RSO courses (or other relevant social science courses)
  • Questions? Please get in touch!

Supervisors: RSO Oona Morrow oona.morrow@wur.nl & GEN Paul Swagemakers paul.swagemakers@uvigo.es (University of Vigo, Galicia, Spain)

Works cited & further reading:

Bolund, P., Hunhammar, S., 1999. Ecosystem services in urban areas. Ecological Economics 29, 293–301

Braat, L.C., De Groot, R., 2012. The ecosystem services agenda: bridging the worlds of natural science and economics, conservation and development, and public and private policy. Ecosystem Services, 1, 4–15.

Caballero, G.,2015. Community-based forest management institutions in the Galician communal forests: a new institutional approach. Forest Policy and Economics 50, 347–356

Davies, A.R., Edwards, F., Marovelli, B., Morrow, O., Rut, M., Weymes, M., 2017. Making visible: Interrogating the performance of food sharing across 100 urban areas. Geoforum 86, 136-149

Gibson-Graham, J.K., 2006. A Postcapitalist Politics. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis

Gibson-Graham, J. K., 2008. Diverse economies: performative practices for other worlds’. Progress in Human Geography, 32(5), 613-632

Jongerden, J.P., 2018. Living Structures : Methodological Considerations on People and Place. In: Methodological Approaches in Kurdish Studies. Baser, B., Toivanen, M., Zorlu, B., Duman, Y. (Eds.), Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield Publisher), Lanham, 21 – 33

Morrow, O., Dombroski, K., 2015. Enacting a Postcapitalist Politics through the Sites and Practices of Life’s Work. In: Precarious Worlds: Contested Geographies of Social Reproduction. Meehan, K., Stauss, K. (Eds.), University of Georgia Press, Georgia

Öztürk, M., Topaloğlu, B., Hilton, A., Jongerden, J., 2017. Rural‒Urban Mobilities in

Turkey: Socio-spatial Perspectives on Migration and Return Movements, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 20(5), 513 – 530

Renting, H., Rossing, W.A.H., Groot, J.C.J., van der Ploeg, J.D., Laurent, C., Perraud, D., Stobbelaar, D.J., van Ittersum, M.K., 2009. Exploring multifunctional agriculture: a review of conceptual approaches and prospects for an integrative transitional framework. Journal of Environmental Management 90, 112–123

Soto, D., 2014. Community, institutions and environment in conflicts over commons in Galicia, northwest Spain (18th–20th centuries). International Journal on Strikes  and Social Conflicts 5, 58–76

Swagemakers, P., Domínguez García, M.D., Milone, P., Ventura, F., Wiskerke, J.S.C., in press. Exploring cooperative place-based approaches to restorative agriculture. Journal of Rural Studies. Online first, doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2018.12.003

Swagemakers, P., Dominguez Garcia, M.D., Wiskerke, J.S.C., 2018.  Socially-innovative development and value creation: how a composting project in Galicia (Spain) ‘hit the rocks’. Sustainability 10(6), 2040

Swagemakers, P., Dominguez Garcia, M.D., Onofa Torres, A., Oostindie, H., Groot, J.C.J., 2017. A values-based approach to exploring synergies between livestock farming and landscape conservation in Galicia (Spain). Sustainability 9(11), 1987

Wiskerke, J.S.C., Verhoeven, S., 2018. Flourishing foodscapes: designing city-region food systems. Valiz, Amsterdam

Wiskerke, J.S.C., 2009. On places lost and places regained: reflections on the alternative food geography and sustainable regional development. International Planning Studies 14(4), 369-387

 

 

 

MSc Thesis Opportunity: Rural-Urban Food Provisioning in Istanbul

In Turkey, direct producer-consumer relations have a long history. In the past, this was mainly expressed through the mutual support between urban migrants and relatives wo stayed back in the village, who sent food, yoghurt, cheese, pickles and the like, to the urban migrants. This food provisioning was not only a form of income support, the consumption of home-made food from the village annihilated distance, and made them experience the village in the city. In this thesis research, we would like understand the nature of consumer-producer relations in the context of urban-rural relations, and understand the changes it underwent in the last 50 years. The researcher will do independent research, but support is provided by two Istanbul researchers with an interest in food studies and an extensive network.

Interested? Contact joost.jongerden@wur.nl

MSc thesis opportunity Tea, Identity, Space

Tea culture can be defined by the way people prepare and consume tea, interactions in relation to the preparation and consumption of tea, and by the aesthetics surrounding tea drinking. Tea cultures vary across the globe. This research looks at tea-cultures in contemporary Turkey.

In Turkey, tea is usually prepared in a tea-set which is composed of an upper and lower kettle. In the upper kettle, a very strong tea is prepared, while the lower kettle contains hot water in order to dilute the tea on an individual basis, which gives every person the opportunity to drink the tea light or dark. The tea is mostly served in small glasses in order to enjoy the tea hot and to show its colour.

Preparing and drinking tea is a marker of identity. In Turkey, people of Turkish origin tend to drink a kind of tea from the black sea coastal area (Rize tea), while the Kurds in the southeast of the country mostly drink a tea from Sri Lanka which was smuggled into the country (Kacak tea) in previous days, but is sold as a brand (Istikan tea) in markets today. In some regions people add sugar to the tea, but in others a sugar hard as stone is put into the mouth, diluting and giving taste when drinking the hot tea.

Drinking tea is a social affair. The offer to drink tea is a sign of hospitality, and social relations are established and confirmed by drinking tea together. When visiting people or families, drinking tea is an indispensable part of the being together, and leaving the house after a meal but before drinking tea can be understood as rude. In past times, the public spaces were tea was drank and relations made, business developed, or news shared, were dominated by men. Today, many of these spaces are mixed.

The tea one drinks, how and where are not only markers of identity, but also lenses through which we can look at the nature of social relations. This research aims to understand the marking of identity and the nature of changing social relations by looking at tea-culture. The research is preferably being conducted in Istanbul or Diyarbakir.

For more info: joost.jongerden@wur.nl

MSc Thesis opportunity Community Supported Food Systems in Istanbul

Istanbul is a vibrant city with a flourishing alternative food economy. These include manifold neighbourhood markets, consumer cooperatives, farmers’ markets, allotment gardens, communal kitchens etc.. Some of these food initiatives mimic or resemble ‘village food’, partly capitalizing on nostalgia, but also relating to long time practices in which urban migrants were provided with food products by relatives in their home-village. Others are driven by the desire to develop alternative relations around food. This research project aims to map and understand the social relations and values from which these food initiatives emerged and developed, and their role in food provisioning to an urban population. The researcher will do independent research, but support is provided by two Istanbul researchers with an interest in food studies and an extensive network.

 

 

Interested? Contact joost.jongerden@wur.nl

MSc Thesis opportunity: Food Forests – the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ‘Os Ancares’

Galicia is well-known for its green inlands, its landscape consisting of a patchwork of forests, pastures, and small meandering streams and rivers. Like elsewhere in Europe, rural dwellers moved from the more remote rural areas to the coastal urban centres where industries provided work. Remaining rural dwellers face difficulties with maintaining a living from forestry and farming in these areas which hold nature, and increasingly become recognised as high nature value (HNV) areas. People living from the land balance between being productive (e.g. produce cheap kilograms of meat for the food industries) and maintain natural values (such as the autochthonous forests, heterogeneous grasslands, bees, wildlife).

Study area for MSc projects is the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ‘Os Ancares’, a remote mountainous area in the inland of Galicia (in northwestern Spain).

In this context, MSc research projects can be formulated about:

  • Household production: mapping relations of households with forests and pastures in the area, either privately or communally owned land, with the aim to improve understanding of what and how the farmers in the area produce (food as well as other ecosystem services), how modes of production differ among farmers, how farmers benefit from farm activities, and how this relates to other household activities;
  • Collaborative approaches: identify and map initiatives that support rural development in the area (producer cooperatives and farmers’ markets, accountancy services, ecologist movements, regional rural development networks) with the aim to analyse and understand the social relations and values from which these initiatives emerge and develop;
  • Policy dynamics: aim is to deliver insight into the policy dynamics that enable, support, and proliferate endogenous rural development in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ‘Os Ancares’, for which social relations and policy schemes are identified, interpreted, combined, and discussed with stakeholders in the area.

Researchers with extended networks in Galicia co-supervise these projects. For more information: Joost Jongerden

MSc Thesis opportunity: Growing Home – Food Culture and Urban Households in Galicia

In Galicia, homegrown food still takes an important place in food culture, in rural and in urban households but also in eating out. In the past decades, rural dwellers moved from remote rural areas to the coastal urban centres where industries provided work. Whilst new generations increasingly work and organize their life and leisure time in urban environments, the elderly generation keep strong ties to the villages in which they grew up, to the people there, and the land. This way part of urban food consumption stems from produce in home gardens, sometimes at large distance from the urban environment in which people reside. This has implications for farmers who aim to anchor their business in direct producer-consumer relations, a trend which also in Galicia manifests but remains limited due to private access to fresh, homegrown food in urban households.

In this context, MSc research projects can be formulated about:

  • Home consumption of food: this project aims to map and understand relations of urban households with land, be this located in the city or in villages at distance, and to improve understanding of how people value homegrown food, what and how they organize production, and whom benefit from this;
  • Food initiatives: identify and map initiatives like neighbour markets, consumer cooperatives, farmers’ markets, allotment gardens et cetera with the aim to analyse and understand better the social relations and values from which these initiatives emerge and develop;
  • Short food chains: study business initiatives of farmers (vegetables, dairy, meat) who turn their local resources into consumer products, whereby consumers are willing to pay for value added by producers (local varieties of e.g. tomatoes and lattice, organic, grazing systems, use of autochthonous breeds);
  • Food forests: large part of Galicia is covered with communal forests. Progressive communities look for ways to benefit from this resource. Is there a future for e.g. honey, mushroom and chestnut production in Galician forests? Map and analyse social relations, and motivations;
  • Gastronomy and tourism: chefs in restaurants cook with and serve local and regional products (vegetables, meat, wine), but what makes it that chefs buy to local providers? Who are these farmers? How do they produce, and how do chefs benefit from this in their kitchen?

Researchers with extended networks in Galicia co-supervise these projects. For more information: Joost Jongerden

Understanding food systems’ change: the making and the practicing of the school food reform in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil – PhD-thesis Camilo Lozano

Wednesday, March 13 2019, at 1.30 pm CET Camilo Lozano will defend his PhD-thesis ‘Understanding food systems’ change: the making and the practicing of the school food reform in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil’.

The ceremony will be live streamed by Weblectures.wur.nl but can be viewed later as well. The full thesis will be available online after the defence ceremony.

 

Seminar: Food, masculinity and environmental caring

We invite you to attend the CSPS Critical Food Studies Speaker Series on March 19th, featuring Emma Roe and Paul Hurley (University of Southampton). Their research explores the role of gender and care in sustainable diets.

When:    19 March 2019    15.30-17.30

Where:   Leeuwenborch, lecture hall C 62

Programme

15.30-15.40          Walk-in with coffee

15.40-15.45          Introduction and welcome (Dr Stefan Wahlen, CSPS Foodscapes Cluster)

15.45-17.00          Sustainable diets, masculinities and environmental caring: Gendered understandings of movements towards sustainable agro-food practices, Dr Paul Hurley & Dr Emma Roe, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton

17.00-17.30          Discussion with drinks and bites

Abstract:

The impact of industrial scale food production poses significant threats to environmental sustainability. Despite the current rising trends of veganism, ‘flexitarianism’ and ‘reducetarianism’ in some areas, global levels of animal-based protein consumption are on the rise – between 1993-2013 global population increased by 29%, yet global demand for animals’ products increased by 62% (Food and Agriculture Organization (2014) State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014: In Brief (FAO, Rome)). The IPCC has recently suggested that dietary shifts (reducing meat consumption as well as shortening supply chains and lessening food waste), could play a significant factor in climate change mitigation (IPCC (2018) SR1.5).

An often overlooked dimension of sustainability issues is that of gender (see, for instance, UNFCCC’s work on Women and Climate Change).The performance of diverse masculinities is receiving increased attention more widely, following the popular critical label of ‘toxic masculinity’ and its association with a raft of negative practices from the #MeToo campaign, through to weak leadership on global environmental challenges. This is a timely moment to increase studies on the cultural, social and political dynamics that drive the performances of diverse forms of masculinity, in order to appraise how to offer more environmentally sustainable forms of living.

Recent work by Roe and Hurley in their project ‘Man Food: Exploring men’s opportunities for ‘Becoming an ecological citizen’ through protein-related food practices’, focusses explicitly on studying practices of being a man in relation to food and environmental caring. Through a series of participatory workshops, in which researchers cooked, ate and talked with groups of men, they have sought to understand more about the interaction of gendered identity norms and barriers to ecological caring and responsibility. Key findings of the project include the fact that a number of men had experienced shame and bullying about choosing vegetarian food options among groups of other men, and that others were willing to try alternatives to meat-based meals but hadn’t had the social reference points to encourage them to do so (lacking peers who didn’t eat meat, or the skills to cook vegetarian food). More recent work has begun to consider these gendered practices of food and environmental caring within the broader social and political contexts of populism, both in the UK and more widely.

 

Thesis Opportunity: Queering Agri-Food Work in Digital Foodscapes

We are living in the age of the celebrity farmer, in which farmers can gain “rock-star” status for their sustainable farming techniques and gastronomic partnerships  – but also for their identity, self-branding, education, and marketing activities on social media (Phillpov and Goodman 2017). Social media platforms such as Instagram, and the companies that profit through them, have the potential to reinforce dominant identities and “brands.” At the same time they are also being used to make more marginalized identities, food knowledges, movements, and narratives visible (Wilson, forthcoming). The interplay between these food spaces, identities, and technologies is investigated through the concept of digital foodscapes (Goodman et al. 2017).

The digital foodscapes of agri-food work are changing the face of farming, and have the potential to upset and challenge existing stereotypes and perceptions of farm workers and rural spaces. In the U.S. for example, where 60% of farmers are foreign born (largely from Central and South America) and 30% are women, the image of farmers as white and male still dominates in mainstream media and food marketing. In a different vein, the current political landscape in the U.S. could give the (erroneous} impression of rural spaces as white, right wing and nationalist, and urban spaces as diverse, liberal and progressive. The visibility of other kinds of farmer identities in digital foodscapes may play an important role in interrupting, bringing to light, or challenging the “demographic fever dreams and fantasies” that shape perceptions of the rural and urban (Gokariskel et al.).

This research will develop comparative case studies in connection with social media accounts and hashtags that promote the activities (and identities) of women farmers (e.g. @Womenwhofarm) and queer farmers (e.g. @Queerswhofarm) on Instagram. The research will explore which identities are made visible, how, where, and for whom. While also applying feminist and queer theory to critically examine the kinds of identities and performances that gain traction and power in these digital foodscapes, and who might be excluded. The overall aim of this research is to develop a better understanding of the role that social media technologies can play in reimagining agri-food work, workers, and spaces.

Start date: Spring or Summer 2019

Qualifications:           

  • You have some training in qualitative methods and critical social theory
  • You are an interested in gender and sexuality and sustainable agri-food systems
  • You are willing to develop new methodologies and tools for analysing social media
  • You are registered for one of the following MSc programmes: MID, MCS, MLP, MFT, or MOA
  • You have completed at least 2 RSO courses (or relevant social science courses)

Questions? Please get in touch!

Supervisor: Oona Morrow (RSO) oona.morrow@wur.nl

Works Cited & Further Reading:

Farm Aid: Immigration and the food system (2019)  https://www.farmaid.org/blog/fact-sheet/immigration-and-the-food-system/ (last accessed 3/8/19)

Gokariskel, B., Neubert, C., & Smith, S. (2019). Demographic Fever Dreams: Fragile Masculinity and Population Politics in the Rise of the Global Right. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 44(3), 561–587.

Gokariskel et al. (2017) CALL FOR PAPERS (AAG 2017): Demographic fantasies and fever dreams: taco trucks, lesbian farmers, burkini bans, and the basket of deplorables

Gold, M. and Thompson, B. (2019) U.S. Statistics on Women and Minorities on Farms and in Rural Areas. USDA, https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/us-statistics-women-and-minorities-farms-and-rural-areas

Goodman, M. K., Johnston, J., & Cairns, K. (2017). Food, media and space: The mediated biopolitics of eating. Geoforum84(Supplement C), 161-168.

Jarosz, L. (2011). Nourishing women: toward a feminist political ecology of community supported agriculture in the United States. Gender, Place, and Culture, 18(3), 307–326.

Leslie, I. S. (2017). Queer farmers: Sexuality and the transition to sustainable agriculture. Rural Sociology82(4), 747-771

Morrow, O., Hawkins, R., & Kern, L. (2015). Feminist research in online spaces. Gender, Place & Culture, 22(August), 526–543.

Phillipov, M., & Goodman, M. K. (2017). The celebrification of farmers: celebrity and the new politics of farming. Celebrity Studies8(2), 346-350.

Queerswhofarm (2019) https://www.instagram.com/queerswhofarm/ (last accessed 3/8/19)

Slocum, R., & Saldanha, A. (Eds.). (2016). Geographies of race and food: Fields, bodies, markets. Routledge..

Wilson, A. (forthcoming) Vegan Instagram Influencers: A critical analysis of the discourses around food, consumerism, and responsibility. Msc Thesis: Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University

Womenwhofarm (2019)  https://www.instagram.com/womenwhofarm/?hl=en (last accessed 3/8/19)