The Sociology of Food and Agriculture  book cover
2nd Edition

The Sociology of Food and Agriculture

ISBN 9781138946255
Published February 17, 2016 by Routledge
366 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In this second edition of The Sociology of Food and Agriculture, students are provided with a substantially revised and updated introductory text to this emergent field.

The book begins with the recent development of agriculture under capitalism and neo-liberal regimes, and the transformation of farming and peasant agriculture from a small-scale, family-run way of life to a globalized system. Topics such as the global hunger and obesity challenges, GM foods, and international trade and subsidies are assessed as part of the world food economy. The final section concentrates on themes of sustainability, food security, and food sovereignty. The book concludes on a positive note, examining alternative agri-food movements aimed at changing foodscapes at levels from the local to the global.

With increased coverage of the financialization of food, food and culture, gender, ethnicity and justice, food security, and food sovereignty, the book is perfect for students with little or no background in sociology and is also suitable for more advanced courses as a comprehensive primer. All chapters include learning objectives, suggested discussion questions, and recommendations for further reading to aid student learning.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to the Field and the Changing Structure of Agriculture 

Part 1: Global Food Economy 

2. Understanding the Food System: Past, Present, and Future 

3. Malnutrition: Hidden and Visible 

4. Financialization of Food 

Part 2: Community, Culture, and Knowledge 

5. Community, Labor, and Peasants 

6. Food and Culture 

7. Gender, Ethnicity, and Justice 

8. Agrobiocultural Diversity and Knowledge Transfer 

Part 3: Food Security and the Environment 

9. Agroecosystems and the Nature of "Natures" 

10. Food, Agriculture, and the Environment 

11. Food Security and Food Sovereignty 

Part 4: Agrifood Futures 

12. Alternative Agrofood Networks 

13. The "Traps" in Agrifood Studies… and Beyond

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Michael Carolan is Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, USA. He is the author or co-editor of several other books including The Real Cost of Cheap Food, Reclaiming Food Securituy and Cheaponomics: The High Cost of Low Prices, all published by Routledge.


"Carolan delivers a brilliant and insightful overview of agrifood systems with a level of accessibility that will reach undergraduates and rigor that will convince graduate students. Supported by evidence and scholarly references throughout, this work exceeds the standards of most textbooks, while infusing pedagogy that is absent in typical monographs." – Gregory Fulkerson, Associate Professor of Sociology, State University of New York at Oneonta, USA.

"The interactions between food and society are incredibly complex, as well as increasingly contested. This book illustrates the value of applying a critical, sociological lens to these topics. The second edition is even more comprehensive, and remains an extraordinary synthesis of a very diverse field of scholarship."Philip H. Howard, , Associate Professor of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University, USA and author of Concentration and Power in the Food System.

"I found the first edition quite useful for helping the growing number of students enrolling in my sociology of agriculture and food systems course survey the field. I appreciate the expanded topics in this second edition that explore in more depth an even broader range of food system topics that reflect where the field is evolving. I also really love all the graphics integrated into the text."Jeff S. Sharp, Director and Professor of Rural Sociology, The Ohio State University, USA. 

"Michael Carolan’s second edition of the Sociology of Food and Agriculture is a timely addition to a growing chorus that describes our current predicaments while offering sources and tools of hope. Carolan’s unique style blends the breadth and depth of a creative academic, a driven sociological imagination and a passion for justice around issues of food and agriculture that can inform and inspire students and scholars alike. This is a vital book at an important time."Paul V. Stock, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Environmental Studies Program, The University of Kansas, USA.