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ECPR General Conference 2013 : Governing Poverty Through Food: The Social Implications of Food Governance in a Comparative Perspective


When Sep 4, 2013 - Sep 7, 2013
Where Bordeaux, France
Submission Deadline Feb 1, 2013
Notification Due Apr 1, 2013
Final Version Due Feb 1, 2013
Categories    sociology   health   food   nutrition

Call For Papers

European Consortium for Political Research
7th General Conference
Sciences-Po Bordeaux, 4th-7th September 2013

-- Section "Food Governance" --
Panel "Governing Poverty Through Food: The Social Implications of Food Governance in a Comparative Perspective"

The rise of socially differentiated diet-related diseases in Western societies has brought a renewed political interest in the relationship between poverty and nutrition. In the United States as in some European countries, at the national or local level, plans have been made in the past decade to prevent the selling of sodas to welfare recipients, to impose a moratorium on fast-food restaurants in poor urban areas or to ban certain types of food altogether. While these policies are diverse in scope and content (welfare reform, market regulation, urban planning, education, etc.), they all aim to reform popular practices, to change the behaviour of low-income or minority groups believed to be at nutritional risk. Today one could hardly imagine a model of food governance that does not take into account in some way the food habits of the popular classes, but such self-evidence conceals a political and social work.

We propose here to explore the ways in which popular eating habits are made into objects of governance. How scientific knowledge of food is translated into policies aiming to improve the condition of the poor? Policy interventions in the lower classes’ diet have historically taken various forms, which ultimately produced different social consequences. What continuities and discontinuities can be observed between welfare programmes aiming to meet the nutritional needs of the population and contemporary reforms aiming to reduce the social cost of unhealthy behaviours? Special attention could be paid to the uses of nutritional knowledge and standards in agenda-setting, where it can be mobilised as an argument to redistribute wealth, to plan agricultural production or to reform individual behaviours. Contributions could focus on present or past policies (20th century) and will be selected to reflect a variety of national contexts, to initiate a debate on the interplay of nutrition and social policies between political scientists, sociologists and historians.

Chairs : Nicolas Larchet, EHESS-CSU, Paris (
& Thomas Depecker, EHESS-INRA, Paris

Instructions for paper proposals :

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