Arve Hansen: Negotiating Unsustainable Food Transformations: Development, Middle Classes and Everyday Food Practices in Vietnam
In The European Journal of Development Research, 2021.
Amidst calls for making food systems more sustainable, new unsustainable food transformations unfold alongside economic development. Explanations for unsustainable food transformations in emerging economies vary greatly, but there is widespread agreement that demand from new middle classes play a crucial role. Yet this demand is to a large extent co-created by systems of provision, and middle-class consumers are constantly navigating food transformations in a search for healthy and safe food. Focusing on Vietnam’s dramatic food transformations, and combining attention to the political economy of food with a social practice approach to consumption, the paper zooms in on the how middle-class households in Hanoi negotiate the rapid transformations of food systems and food environments. The paper concludes that new thinking on sustainable food systems is urgently needed and argues that vital insights can be gained by studying food practices and their interaction with everyday geographies of consumption.