CALL FOR PAPERS "The Deficit of Trust in Contemporary Food Cultures"

In societies with industrial food production systems, eating patterns resemble traditional dining communities less and less. The cultural status of the highly processed food reaching the consumer after going through long distribution chains is becoming unclear. The spatial, temporal and symbolic distance between the food system and the consumer’s mouth translates into doubts and criticism toward food economies and food itself. Food lacking in social and cultural meanings becomes tasteless, disturbing or harmful.

Uncertainty, distrust and lack of control over the plate cause new types of social anxieties. The former threats associated with seasonal food shortages, monotonous diet and physically or symbolically polluted food are replaced by new ones. These include fear of technological (GMO), epidemiological (BSE, E. coli), cultural or economic threats (endangered local economies and traditions), as well as concerns related to medicalisation and aestheticisation of the body (“pandemic of obesity”). Social fears and anxieties are expressed at different levels of the social realm: from state public health politics, economic processes, media discourses, and social movements to bottom-up cultural activities and households’ everyday strategies.

The homogenising tendencies of globalisation are accompanied by counter-processes, both conservational and innovative. We can observe a growing appetite for new symbolic frames, narratives, practices and values within food cultures. Disillusionment with industrial food systems triggers novel food production, distribution, and consumption patterns. At the same time the traditional ones become the source of remedies for what is lacking in contemporary foodscapes. They give a sense of order, security and confidence. The new food ideologies are then supposed to strengthen consumers’ agency and allow them to build different forms of socialisation: food-oriented social movements, cooperatives, new self-provision, consumers’ and prosumers’ communities, shortened food supply chains etc. However, these novel initiatives are generating new axes of social differentiations and inequalities. Food fears are also closely related to their cultural, political and economic contexts, and therefore we can discern diversified diagnoses of local food systems and different answers to food threats in various places.

We invite the submission of papers on contemporary food fears and socially expressed food critiques, as well as on various responses to them. The special issue of Contribution to Humanities (Studia Humanistyczne AGH) aims to become an arena for discussing and problematising the locally diversified narratives of distrust toward contemporary food systems.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

-       ways of manifestation of dietary concerns (including the phenomenon of moral panic)

-       new food-oriented social movements and food ideologies

-       alternative food supply chains

-       food as a medicine and food as a poison

-       the renaissance of traditional eating practices and food nostalgia

-       cultural discourses on food and new mechanisms of constructing dietary knowledge

-       Eastern European foodscapes and critiques of the global food system: political, historical and cultural determinants

-       agency and control in the field of food production and consumption

-       “engaged food” – political, ethical, ideological entanglements of food

-       social inequalities within contemporary food systems

-       dietary utopias and dystopias.

The papers should be in English (for non-native speakers of English we highly recommend that you have your manuscript proofread by a native speaker) and not exceed 7000 words (with bibliography). Manuscript submissions are due on 15 March 2017 and should be sent to the editors of the special issue: Agata Bachórz (Instytut Filozofii, Socjologii i Dziennikarstwa, Uniwersytet Gdański, and Ewa Kopczyńska (Instytut Socjologii, Uniwersytet Jagielloński,

The details about guidelines for papers may be found at:

All papers will be subject to a peer review.