Sociology Seminar: ‘‘Real’ Bread: Biopower, Biopolitics and Governance in an ‘Alternative’ Food Network’ (Samantha Foster)
|Starts:||14:00 10 Jun 2015|
|Ends:||15:00 10 Jun 2015|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Alumni, Current University students|
|Speaker:||Dr Samantha Foster|
All staff and students welcome at our Sociology seminar, this time given by Samantha Foster. We start at 2pm (tea and coffee available from 1.45pm).
Bread has been at the heart of human social and biological life on a daily basis for thousands of years and has been central to processes of cultural, economic and political organization. In contemporary Britain ‘real’ bread is en vogue and ubiquitous. Take Manchester, ‘real’ bread can be found in small independent bakeries like Troves in Levenshulme, cafes such as Fig & Sparrow and Teacup, restaurants such as Bakerie and Wood, and is an emerging feature of local markets and home kitchens. Significantly, this ‘real’ bread is constructed as ‘pure’, ‘wholesome’ and closely aligned with organic and ‘Local’ food networks as well as movements concerned with environmental sustainability and the health of human bodies. Subsequently, this ‘real’ bread has been equated with notions of ‘quality’ and ‘alterity’, in opposition to the ‘toxic’ uniform white sliced loaves produced in ‘Conventional’ food networks by Agri-business, corporate bakeries and sold in supermarkets. The research explored the ‘real’ bread produced and consumed within a British Biodynamic, Organic wheat actor-network through a multi-sited ethnographic study that ‘followed’ this wheat from ‘field to fork’. Here I will be drawing out how this so-called ‘real’ bread is a Biopolitical device, a means by which the network attempts to intervene in, or govern, the optimisation and maintenance of the health and vitality of the population in multifarious ways. ‘Real’ bread also acts as a mechanism for enrolling individuals into the network’s socio-cultural values. Further, the dissemination of knowledge claims, and ideas of how ‘real’ bread functions to improve the health of human bodies and the planet enables the expansion of markets for British Biodynamic and organic wheat. To conclude, I suggest that the production-consumption relations of ‘real’ bread are the materialisation of the network, and that its consumption is, quite literally, the internalisation of the network’s values, politics and cosmologies. It is in this externalisation-internalisation of ‘real’ bread that we can see the biopolitics, biopower and governance of an ‘alternative’ food network at play.
Dr Samantha Foster
Organisation: Sustainable Consumption Institute, Manchester
Travel and Contact Information
Boardroom, 2nd Floor
Arthur Lewis Building