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Ethical Eating in the Postsocialist and Socialist World

By: Yuson Jung(Editor), Jakob A Klein(Editor), Melissa L Caldwell(Editor)

University of California Press

Hardback | Feb 2014 | #226106 | ISBN-13: 9780520277403
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NHBS Price: £44.95 $58/€49 approx

About this book

Current discussions of the ethics around alternative food movements – concepts such as "local", "organic", and "fair trade" – tend to focus on their growth and significance in advanced capitalist societies. In this groundbreaking contribution to critical food studies, editors Yuson Jung, Jakob A. Klein, and Melissa L. Caldwell explore what constitutes "ethical food" and "ethical eating" in socialist and formerly socialist societies. With essays by anthropologists, sociologists, and geographers, this politically nuanced volume offers insight into the origins of alternative food movements and their place in today's global economy. Collectively, the essays cover discourses on food and morality; the material and social practices surrounding production, trade, and consumption; and the political and economic power of social movements in Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Lithuania, Russia, and Vietnam. Scholars and students will gain important historical and anthropological perspective on how the dynamics of state-market-citizen relations continue to shape the ethical and moral frameworks guiding food practices around the world.

"Rich, both theoretically and empirically [...] It is, in short, a text bound to the complex pursuit of the ethical in a world where such an endeavour is becoming all the more urgent."
– Fiona Murphy, The Allegra Laboratory

"A unique and important contribution to the scholarships of ethical consumption and alternative food movements."
– Loretta Iegtak Lou, The Allegra Laboratory

"This book is a valuable source of insight both for scholars and activists looking for more nuanced and "culturally sensitive" approaches to food and its social, political, symbolical, and practical meanings."
– Costanza Curro, The Allegra Laboratory

"Ethical Eating provides a rich understanding of new food movements. As the first book to combine the analysis of postsocialism and the morality of food and agriculture, Ethical Eating opens up novel ways of understanding not just what people eat, but why they eat it and what it means."
– Elizabeth Cullen Dunn, Associate Professor of Geography and International Affairs, University of Colorado at Boulder

"Ethical Eating is an innovative exploration of two growing issues in food studies: food movements in post-socialist societies and 'ethical' food movements. There is no question that this will be a must-read."
– James L. Watson, Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society and Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, Harvard University

"This book offers a series of fresh insights into the nature of ethical food movements and alternative food systems, seen from the perspective of post-socialist and market socialist societies. Exploring the symbolic, material and emotional dimensions of 'ethical food', the book unsettles conventional ideas about the relationship between citizens, states and markets, between the urban and the rural, and between scholars and activists interested in the pursuit of increased food justice."
– Peter Jackson, Professor of Human Geography, University of Sheffield, UK

"Through its focus on memories of state socialism and everyday ethics and practices of contemporary food movements, this collection provides a provocative vantage point for assessing similar movements in "advanced capitalist" countries. Rich and nuanced, and written by leading scholars, it poses the relationship between states, markets and local practices in rich, contextual fashion."
– David Sutton, PhD, author of Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory and co-editor of The Restaurants Book: Ethnographies oif Where We Eat



Introduction: Ethical Eating and (Post)socialist Alternatives
Jakob A. Klein, Yuson Jung, and Melissa L. Caldwell

1. Homogenizing Europe: Raw Milk, Risk Politics, and Moral Economies in Post-Socialist Lithuania
Diana Mincyte

2. The Moral Significance of Food in Reform-Era Rural China
Ellen Oxfeld

3. Placing Alternative Food Networks: Farmers’ Markets in Post-Soviet Vilnius, Lithuania
Renata Blumberg

4. Ambivalent Consumers and the Limits of Certification: Organic Foods in Postsocialist Bulgaria
Yuson Jung

5. Connecting with the Countryside? “Alternative” Food Movements with Chinese Characteristics
Jakob A. Klein

6. Vegetarian Ethics and Politics in Late-Socialist Vietnam
Nir Avieli

7. Agroecology and the Cuban Nation
Marisa Wilson

8. Gardening for the State: Cultivating Bionational Citizens in Postsocialist Russia
Melissa L. Caldwell

Afterword: Ethical Food Systems, Between Suspicion and Hope
Harry G. West


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Yuson Jung is Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Wayne State University. Jakob A. Klein is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Melissa L. Caldwell is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the author of Dacha Idylls: Living Organically in Russia's Countryside and Not by Bread Alone: Social Support in the New Russia.

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