The Social Politics of Food - SA519

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


The module provides an introduction to social and political issues raised by food and its provision, exploring how sociologists, social anthropologists and policy analysts have addressed this area. The module examines the role of food within the household and beyond, exploring the ways in which food and food practices make manifest social categorisations such as gender, age, ethnicity and religion. Using the examples of vegetarianism and religion, it examines the way food is entwined with symbolic and moral categorisations. The module as also addresses the political and policy issues raised by food, exploring government involvement in the area of ingestion, drawing parallels between food, alcohol and tobacco. In doing so it addresses the political issues raised by the large corporate interests of the food industry, and the role of the market in shaping provision. It addresses questions of public health, dietary adequacy and the future of the welfare state through sessions on schools meals and food banks.


Contact hours

11 hours of lectures and 11 hours seminars

Method of assessment

100% coursework (2 x 2500-3000 word essays)

Indicative reading

Ashley B et al (2004) Food and Cultural Studies
Bell D and Valentine G (1997) Consuming Geographies
Germov J & Williams L (2010) A Sociology of Food and Nutrition
Lang, T et al (2009) Food Policy
Lupton D (1996) Food, the Body and the Self

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module you will:
have gained an understanding of the diverse meanings of food and food ways in modern Britain
be able to analyse food and eating in terms of its symbolic meanings
have gained an understanding of the main debates concerning food and public policy
be able to discuss policy issues in relation to the production and retailing of food and the role of globalisation in debates concerning food
have had an opportunity to evaluate and criticise research evidence


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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