Is Food a Commodity?
Posted by Deanna Olson on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM By Deanna Olson / December 9, 2013 Comment
Unlike our ancestors, we are influenced by the globalization of mass production and capitalist ideology of food commodities. Foods such as burgers, fries, and refined sugars have become a significant diet for most Americans. Individuals have also strayed from understanding the processes behind each meal they consume on a daily basis. The origin of the beef in their burgers, or the potatoes required for their fries is unknown. Our appetites and diets are continually influenced through our culture and societal institutions which govern social norms. In order to alleviate our ignorance behind our daily consumption, researching the history of food through its stages of production, distribution, and consumption is essential. The production of food is a part of larger social scale influenced by global and local conditions and societal processes. One central issue to consider is the labor of the individuals behind the production process. The influence of gender, class, and ethnicity plays a vital role in the allocation individuals receive, and their participation in the labor of the food industry. The production of food has escalated into a global scale, thus developing an exploitative relationship between the producers and the consumers. Theorists have theorized the role of food in society through the prospective of functionalism, structuralism, and development theory. The contribution of each school of theory has offered a deep scope of analysis. While others have not fully explained the role of food in society, each has contributed to the study of ‘the food system.’ The food system can be viewed as a relationship of power between consumers and producers. While some individuals and societies reap the benefits of plentiful resources, others are denied their provisionary needs of subsistence. Although the examination of food seems simplistic, the diverse subject requires multiple avenues of examination, as it cannot be explained thoroughly through one social theory of knowledge. Photos via: Google
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