Moderated by Beat Kümin (History)
Sugar is viewed by the World Health Organisation as a dangerous substance, one at the heart of a contemporary global nutrition crisis. Parents in Britain are under increasing pressure to reduce their children’s sugar consumption, in order to produce health and protect their kin from future chronic disease and dental decay. Against this backdrop of widespread messages about sugar’s deleterious effects on health, this paper asks: What is the role of sugar in creating and maintaining kinship ties and relationality? Drawing on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in primary schools and families’ homes in an Edinburgh neighbourhood, this talk explores the moral ambivalence towards sugar that permeates people’s consumption practices.
Imogen Bevan is a Research Fellow in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh, and recently completed a PhD thesis entitled '“Do you take sugar?” Value, consumption, and sugar politics in Scotland'. Her interests include medical anthropology, family / kinship / relatedness and food studies.