Accepted Paper:

Food, situated knowledge and politics of respect   

Author:

Marja Vehviläinen (University of Tampere)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses food as a political object and science by other means through a study of groups that work with research-based knowledge and material practices of food production. By following Haraway’s companion species, it tackles with injustices and politics of respect in food production.

Paper long abstract:

The paper discusses food as a political object and science by other means through a study of groups that work with research-based knowledge and material practices of food production. Material feminist theories and Donna Haraways's situated knowledge and companion species approach in particular make the framework for the analysis. Food is eaten and produced in material-discursive practices of companion species networks within bio-socio-technical apparatuses across the globe, including soil, worms and waste companies. The approach acknowledges injustices embedded in food production, dominated by international companies, including intensive factory farming of animals and vegetables, naturalised hierarchies between species and societal groups, and environmental concerns. The approach further argues for respect among partners in companion species networks. The analysis starts from a qualitative empirical study of a large Finnish home-economics women's organisation (interviews, participatory observation, documents, and magazines), and a pilot study (web pages, an interview, and a participatory observation of a two day event) of an East London based feminist environmental organisation. Both organisations work through local groups typically to women's movement. These groups, as collectives within companions species networks, produce situated knowledge by connecting research based knowledge with their work with material practices of food production. This way they work for alternative practices in food production and for politics of respect. The paper suggests that situated knowledge intertwines with the politics of respect, and it examines the promises and injustices of the politics of respect in the material practices of food production within the contradictory world of neoliberal political economy.

Panel T159
Political Objects. Prescriptions, Injustices and Promises of Material Agents