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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SOC3125: Politics of Food and Farming

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Michael Winter (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


There are no more fundamental requirements for human beings that than that of bodily sustenance through the consumption of food. The module will provide you with an understanding of how the nature and content of the food we eat is driven by a range of cultural, economic and political forces. We will start with some history as we seek to explain how the immutable requirement for food has combined with population growth, technological change, and changing consumer demand to shift our relationship with food from the immediacy of hunter gathering or subsistence agriculture to the complexities of the contemporary global agro-food system. We will look at both the empirical evidence of transitional change and the theoretical explanations of food systems and networks developed by social scientists. However, our evidence sources will not be confined to social science because, in order to understand the politics of food, we need to understand various natural processes. For example, what does growing food - especially with modern agricultural technology - do to the land and the environment? How is human health affected by the move towards processing and manufacture of food? And in both these cases, and others, how does often contested evidence feed into political campaigns and policy initiatives? No prior knowledge skills or experience are needed to take this module. The module is suitable for interdisciplinary pathways.

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