The Politics of Diet.


By situating contemporary food movements within a larger history of dietary advice, this study demonstrates both that diet has long been an important topic in Western political thought and that eating, not just speaking, voting, and legislating, is an important political act. Three distinct discursive formations have shaped the history of Western dietetics. Historians have already described two, the humoral and nutritionist traditions. I contend that a third discourse, eco-dietetics, emerged in the mid-twentieth century in the form of fresh, local, organic, and “Slow” food movements. Dietetic discourses can be distinguished by their conceptualizations of the body, healthy food, moral eating, and authoritative knowledge about aliment. Just as humoral and nutritionist dietetics, respectively, created knowledge of humors and nutrients, eco-dietetics has created a new object of knowledge: the effects of eating on the environment. But eco-dietetics contains two distinct variants, one agrarian, the other corporate, and the failure to distinguish between them has obscured the radical political potential of agrarian eco-dietetics, leading some critics to argue that it represents a disguised endorsement of neoliberalism. Agrarian eco-dietetics, however, challenges rather than bolsters neoliberalism by prioritizing food that is pleasurable rather than profitable and grown rather than purchased by the eater.


Rebrovick, Tripp, The Politics of Diet. Political Research Quarterly. Volume: 68 Issue: 4 Pages: 678-689 Published: DEC 2015.