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)

 

The Politics of Counter-Expertise on Aerial Spraying by Lisette Nikol & Kees Jansen

Source: Interface Development Interventions Inc.

As part of a larger project to study how social movements shape the making of pesticide risk regulation, the Journal of Contemporary Asia just published our analysis of recent activism to stop aerial spraying in the Philippines. In this article, we focus on how such activism articulates different types of knowledge.

Lisette Nikol & Kees Jansen, The Politics of Counter-Expertise on Aerial Spraying: Social Movements Denouncing Pesticide Risk Governance in the Philippines, Journal of Contemporary Asia. Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1080/00472336.2018.1551962

Interested in space & place? Register now for ‘A Global Sense of Place’

RSO-55306_2018In period 5, from March 18 till April 26, we’ll be teaching again RSO-55306 A Global  Sense of Place: Place-based approaches to development.  Registration for the course is open until February 17, 2019.

A Global Sense of Place  is an optional interdisciplinary course on sustainable place-based development for students from various master programmes (e.g. MDR, MES, MID, MLP, MUE, MOA, MFN).  The course aims to make students acquainted with interdisciplinary and place-based approaches to development. This advanced MSc course might also be of interest to PhD candidates associated with the Centre for Space, Place and Society.

By means of this course students will achieve profound understanding in key-concepts and methods on place-based sustainable development. Work from key thinkers in sustainable place-making will be critically discussed and examined on the basis of various cases. Guest speakers are invited to reflect on place-based approaches to sustainable development and illustrate these through case studies. Ultimately students will acquire a place-based perspective on development.

Language of instruction and examination is English. Classes are taught on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon. See course schedule.

Key lecturers: Joost Jongerden, Dirk Roep and Anke de Vrieze (RSO).

For more information, please contact Anke de Vrieze, anke.devrieze@wur.nl.