Skip to main content

Critical Issues in National and International Food Policy (SO997-20)

Topics covered

The following is an indicative list of topics for this module; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • Introduction: why food matters
  • The food system and food policy: actors and power
  • Contemporary challengers: climate change, recession, rising prices
  • 'Disconnections and mistrusts': people, land, growing, food practices
  • Hunger, malnutrition, emergencies
  • Inequalities: class and gender
  • Obesity: challenges and potential solutions
  • The role of the state: regulation, provision, facilitation?
  • Food security: the big story?
  • Sites of resistance: food sovereignty, rights, movements, personal change
Timing and CATS

This module will run in the Spring Term and is worth 20 CATS.

Programme content

The module introduces the contemporary food system and its current discontents; the aim is to develop critical understanding of the power structures, driving forces and levers for change in policy and practice in food within a global context. Challenges to the moral, social and environmental sustainability of contemporary ways of producing and consuming food are increasingly on the political agenda and visible in people’s lives. Participants will explore research into these issues in the context of a rapid growth in industrialised food production, processing and retailing, which shape consumer preferences in rich and poor countries and communities, yet which are increasingly unsustainable in environmental and social terms.

Each of the weekly two-hour interactive sessions will be led by different people, who will introduce the topic, summarising key issues and stimulating discussion, drawing on the readings and questions provided in the handbook, and introducing aspects in which they are particularly interested or expert. Key texts have been chosen to be highly topical and/or accessible/on line where possible. In addition, there are likely to be radio and TV programmes or items to which attention can be drawn on this webpage. Liz will be available to help and guide planning for sessions, as well as offering support and clarification etc as necessary. Liz will also sum up at the end of each session. If there are particular topics participants would like to address, there is scope to include them.

Module Director:
Liz Dowler

Sample reading list (PDF Document)


Politics, Community, and Civic Engagement Research Cluster

Sociology Prospective Postgraduates