In this article, we propose a critical framework for labor-sensitive food studies. First, we review recent food studies scholarship on agriculture, which leans heavily toward studies of alternative and small-farmer agriculture. We then overview different analytical and theoretical framings dominant in the study of labor and agriculture in the Americas, tracing work from anthropological analyses of peasant and plantation agriculture, to cultural ecologies of smallholders, to American agrarianism, and finally to studies of commodity chains and the labor process. In the review's penultimate section, we curate scholarship that merges macro-level political economic analysis with detailed narrative and interpretive inquiry into the lives of laborers. We aim for this review to provide groundwork for future intersectional food studies research that is sensitive to the lived experience of waged labor. In our conclusion, we argue for further theoretical and empirical expansion to engage the relationship between labor and food in the twenty-first century.
1 May 2015
Research Article|May 01 2015
Sarah Besky, Sandy Brown; Looking for Work: Placing Labor in Food Studies. Labor 1 May 2015; 12 (1-2): 19–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-2837484
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