Annual Lecture 2016: "Consumer Citizenship: Food Practices and Social Aspirations in India"
How does industrial food create new identities and challenge religious, caste and gender rules that govern food and eating?
'Industrial foods' or mass-produced processed food commodities play an increasing part in diets across the world. However, in India, some of these commodities are invested with a distinctive quality: they appear to be independent of the complex religious, regional, caste and gender rules that govern food and eating. Baviskar's lecture will focus on the role of processed foods, specifically instant noodles, in the political and cultural imagination of Indians across regions, classes, and the rural-urban continuum. She argues that the consumption practices such industrial foods engender are productive sites for imagining citizenship cutting across social hierarchies, creating new identities and diluting stigmatized ones. Even as poor Indians struggle to secure access to basic food, they also attempt to include more processed foods in their diets – a tendency that shows the significance of these commodities in the politics of social inclusion and exclusion.
Amita Baviskar is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. Her research focuses on the cultural politics of environment and development. Her first book "In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley" (Oxford University Press) discussed the struggle for survival by adivasis in central India against a large dam. Her subsequent work further explores the themes of resource rights, subaltern resistance and cultural identity. More recently, she has focused on urban environmental politics, especially bourgeois environmentalism and spatial restructuring in the context of economic liberalization in Delhi. Baviskar's latest research examines changing food practices in western India in relation to the transformation of agrarian environments.
15:15-15:20: Welcome note by Dr. Kenneth Bo Nielsen
15:20-16:15: Annual Lecture with Amita Baviskar
After the lecture we invite you to a reception in the cafe at Georg Morgenstiernes hus, University of Oslo. Participation is free, but registration is mandatory for this event. Please register by 12 October, 9 AM: