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Food repair:: An analysis of the tensions between preventing waste and assuring safety
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2019 (English)In: Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, ISSN 2052-1499, E-ISSN 1473-2866, Vol. 19, no 2, p. 283-301Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research into food waste has shown that around one third of the food that is produced for human consumption ends up going to waste. The reasons for this are many but in reports and campaigns the role of the consumer, their careless behavior and anxieties related to food are often raised as two of the main causes for food going to waste. By way of contrast, this article asks what practices of saving, experimenting with, growing and eating food – what is here conceptualized as ‘food repair’ – may tell us in terms of the specific materialities of foods, and the work involved in repairing it. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with dumpster divers, a studio for the experimental arts, and urban gardeners, I suggest firstly that the actual work of food repair is mundane, small-scale and often remains largely invisible. Secondly, food repair is caught in the tension between avoiding waste and assuring safety. This tension, and the work of living with it in practice, is analyzed in terms of caring: caring for the food, for sustainable consumption, for the eater. As such, this text articulates the concept of food repair as a conceptual contrast to the notion of careless consumers and throw-away societies in order to map alternative stories and practices. Rather than offering a critique of known food wasting practices, then, this text is intended both to articulate and strengthen marginal food repair practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 19, no 2, p. 283-301
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-396932OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-396932DiVA, id: diva2:1369500
Available from: 2019-11-12 Created: 2019-11-12 Last updated: 2020-02-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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