Careful Eating: Bodies, Food and Care: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Careful Eating: Bodies, Food and Care

1st Edition

Edited by Emma-Jayne Abbots, Anna Lavis, Luci Attala


244 pages

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Critically reflecting on the interplays between food and care, this multidisciplinary volume asks ’why do individuals, institutions and agencies care about what other people eat?’ It explores how acts of caring about food and eating shape and intervene in individual bodies as well as being enacted in and through those bodies. In so doing, the volume extends current critical debates regarding food and care as political mechanisms through which social hierarchies are constructed and both self and 'other' (re)produced. Addressing the ways in which eating and caring interact on multiple scales and sites - from public health and clinical settings to the market, the home and online communities - Careful Eating asks what ’eating’ and ’caring’ are, what relationships they create and rupture, and how their interplay is experienced in myriad spaces of everyday life. Taking account of this two-directional flow of engagement between eating and caring, the chapters are organized into three central theoretical dimensions: how eating practices mobilize discourses and forms of care; how discourses and practices of care (look to) shape particular forms of eating and food preferences; and how it is often in the bodies of individual consumers that eating and care encounter one another.


’Careful Eating is a timely and innovative volume that creatively rethinks relationships between food and care. Through thoughtful and rich ethnographic case studies, the contributors move beyond care as a form of labor or sentiment and instead reveal deeper concerns with caring as an ethical, affective, and even phenomenological project. Ultimately, the volume raises critical questions about why caring matters in everyday life.’ Melissa L. Caldwell, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA ’How wonderful, frightening or both for someone to take the care to make sure we eat properly, an interaction potentiated with both love and power! This engaging and diverse collection beautifully shows how - whether in families, clinics, schools or many other contexts - there is much more to the intimacies created through food than one may often imagine and sometimes more than we might care to think about.’ Jon Holtzman, Western Michigan University, USA ’This timely volume creatively extends current interest in eating practices, in contrast to studies on diet or food, by exploring the links between eating and caring. Consisting of chapters that reflect a range of disciplinary perspectives and diverse fieldwork locations, the inherent relationality and politics of eating and care are revealed, discussed and critiqued. Whilst each contribution presents its own argument, through the careful juxtaposing of chapters the book overall presents eating as an inherently ambivalent activity; not only one that is both an individual and a social practice, but also one that can produce, maintain and sometimes disrupt boundaries and relationships. Careful Eating is consequently not only a rich resource for some fascinating case studies but also a text that engages in more general and novel explorations about the entanglement of eating and care.’ Simon Cohn, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK ’This volume takes the reader on a fascinating journey about eating

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: reflecting on the embodied intersections of eating and caring, Anna Lavis, Emma-Jayne Abbots and Luci Attala. Part I Eating to Care: Proximities and Productions: Multiculturalism as work: the emotional labour of ethnic food tour guides, Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan; Is sharing caring? Social media and discourses of healthful eating, Signe Rousseau; Caring about careless eating: class politics, governance and the production of otherness in Highland Ecuador, Emma-Jayne Abbots. Part II Embodied Encounters between Eating and Caring: Careful starving: reflections on (not) eating, caring and anorexia, Anna Lavis; The sweetness of care: biographies, bodies and place, Tanya Zivkovic, Megan Warin, Vivienne Moore, Paul Ward and Michelle Jones; Food, weight and care in the consultation, Antje Lindenmeyer. Part III Caring to Eat: Distances and (Dis)Connects: Placing security: food, geographical knowledge(s) and the reproduction of place(less-ness), Benjamin Coles; Configuring relations of care in an online consumer protection organization, Karin Eli, Amy K. McLennan and Tanja Schneider; Children's engagements with food: an embodied politics of care through school meals, Monica Truninger and Jose Teixeira; Afterword: the everyday biopolitics of care-full eating, Michael K. Goodman. Index.

About the Editors

Emma-Jayne Abbots is Senior Lecturer in Social/Cultural Anthropology and Heritage at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (Lampeter) and Research Associate at SOAS Food Studies Centre, University of London, UK. Anna Lavis is Research Fellow at the School of Health and Population Sciences, University of Birmingham and Research Associate at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK. Luci Attala is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (Lampeter) and Associate Lecturer in Health and Social Care at the Open University, UK.

About the Series

Critical Food Studies

Critical Food Studies
The study of food has seldom been more pressing or prescient. From the intensifying globalization of food, a world-wide food crisis and the continuing inequalities of its production and consumption, to food's exploding media presence, and its growing re-connections to places and people through 'alternative food movements', this series promotes critical explorations of contemporary food cultures and politics. Building on previous but disparate scholarship, its overall aims are to develop innovative and theoretical lenses and empirical material in order to contribute to - but also begin to more fully delineate - the confines and confluences of an agenda of critical food research and writing. Of particular concern are original theoretical and empirical treatments of the materialisations of food politics, meanings and representations, the shifting political economies and ecologies of food production and consumption and the growing transgressions between alternative and corporatist food networks.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography