CFP: RGS-IBG AC17: Alternative food geographies and the foodscapes of ‘clean eating’.

Sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group.

Session organiser: Christine Barnes, King’s College London. 

There has been a recent and rapid rise in ‘clean eating’, diets defined as much by what they exclude as what is eaten. ‘Wellness’ is promoted through eating more ‘natural’, unprocessed foods and related lifestyle changes. Cutting out gluten, sugar, dairy, or meat is encouraged, even for those without allergies, with claims to health, wellbeing, ethical, and environmental benefits. Yet there is growing criticism of the lack of scientific evidence of these claims, the dominance of ‘non-expert’ voices, and the high cost of ingredients. Such forms of diet and lifestyle are deeply classed and gendered, often including moralising rhetoric about the right way to eat while simultaneously creating new economies to serve clean eating devotees.

While cultural discussion around clean eating is widespread, geographers have yet to critically engaged with such foodscapes. Academics literature has considered the ways that alternative food movements have challenged conventional food systems through renewed producer-consumer relationships. (c.f. Abbots and Lavis 2016; Goodman 2004; Guthman 2003; Slocum 2007). Clean eating offers fresh ground to explore in this context, challenging producer-consumer relationships in new ways, as well as new relationships with the ‘stuff’ of food and individual bodily relations to the act of eating. This session invites empirical and theoretical reflections on the culture, economy, politics, materiality, and spaces of clean eating.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Christine.barnes@kcl.ac.uk by Friday 3rd February.

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