CFP: Foodways and Inequality: Toward a Sociology of Food Culture and Movements

Call for Papers
Humanity & Society Special
Issue: “Foodways and Inequality: Toward a Sociology of Food Culture and Movements”
Guest Editors: Kaitland M. Byrd (Virginia Tech) and W. Carson Byrd (University of Louisville)

Foodways exist as key sources of cultural capital, and the rising quest for distinction within foodways has led to the proliferation of restaurants and chefs claiming authenticity (Johnson and Baumann 2010). Although the cultural dimension of foodways dominates the literature there is also extensive research on the prevalence of hunger and obesity throughout the United States (Poppendieck 1999, 2011). While a definition of foodways can vary between scholars and academic disciplines, we define foodways as the choices and meanings behind what people eat. Using this conceptualization we can gain a better understanding of how sociological perspectives can elucidate connections between people and food such as the formation of varying food movements, differing forms of inequality, the politics that infiltrate foodways and craft the connection between what people eat, and how people identify themselves through the consumption of specific foodways and food products (e.g., southern barbeque). The sociological study of foodways provides insight into broader processes such as how inequality functions around social movements, the connection between identity, memory, and consumption, and the politics behind the production and consumption of cultural products fundamental for survival. While a multitude of studies have examined the role of foodways in creating cultural distinctions and exploring the increasing problem of hunger, there is a lack of research focusing on the sociological implications of foodways and food movements. The extant focus on food insecurity and elite consumption is too narrow of a lens of social inequality – leaving a large portion of society unexamined. This special issue seeks to remedy this scenario.

The underlying goal of this proposed issue is to highlight research on foodways and inequality grounded in sociological theories emphasizing the breadth of food as an important facet of everyday life across multiple research areas. The scholarship we will include examine various relationships among foodways, food movements, and social inequality. These areas will include, but are not limited to the following areas of research:

  • Social inequality in/and food movements
  • The effects of food movements on local/global foodways
  • Comparisons of the prevalence of food movements across place, gender, and race
  • Comparative research on how alternative foodways (e.g. Indigenous) negotiate external pressures from food movements and initiatives
  • Farming efforts to preserve non-GMO seeds and farming practices
  • Theoretical contributions to understanding foodways and food movements sociologically
  • Comparative research on food movements as social movements both locally and globally
  • Farmer’s markets as sites of alternative food movements and perpetuating sites of inequality
  • Identity politics and food

Please submit abstracts (preferably as Microsoft Word documents), no longer than 500 words, to Kaitland M. Byrd (kmp009@vt.edu) or W. Carson Byrd (wcarson.byrd@louisville.edu) by August 1, 2016. Contributors should note that this call is open and competitive. Additionally, submitted papers must be based on original material not under consideration by any other journal or publication outlet. Authors will be notified of the editors’ decisions no later than September 1, 2016. Papers accepted for further consideration for inclusion in this special issue will go through the same review process as normal journal submissions. The invited papers will be due to the editors by November 1, 2016.

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