The Political Identity of Food: Partisan Implications of the New Food Politics

Changing perceptions in farming and food policy have partisan implications for American politics. The changing perceptions of farms, farmers, food, agriculture and environment, animal welfare, and food democracy have created liberal and conservative partisan positions in food policy. Political science theories of issue evolution, issue ownership, policy diffusion, and morality policy anticipate partisan sorting on food issues when certain conditions are met. This article will explain the politically meaningful perceptual changes in food politics from a conventional view to a progressive view. It will then examine the way four political science theories explain and predict these changes in the political identity of food.

The Vicious Cycle of GMO Opposition

Genetically modified foods have been one of the most hotly debated, contentious issues in food politics and policy over the course of the last multiple decades. Although being the recipient of overwhelming scientific approval since the 1980s, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) used for food production and consumption have met public unrest as well as regulatory scrutiny and backlash. Why is this? This article will display a theoretical justification for international public opposition to genetically modified foods as well as make the argument that this unfounded public opposition has become the basis for federal GM regulatory policies in the United States, the European Union, and sub-Saharan Africa. This will be presented through illustrating the vicious cycle of GMO opposition, a phenomenon born in wealthier countries such as the United States and those in the European Union that is then exported to sub-Saharan Africa through means of cultural affinity and influence, primarily with the European Union. It will be illustrated that sub-Saharan Africa could be reaping massive tangible benefits to its agricultural productivity and thus issues of food security and hunger if only the countries in sub-Saharan Africa would be willing to culturally accept genetically modified foods.

Defining “Men with Good Taste”: Constructions of Masculinity, Consumption, and the Culinary in France’s New Food-lifestyle Magazine for Men

For centuries and across cultures, food has played an enormous role in constructing, refining, and maintaining the idealized identities of groups, nations, and individuals—including ideals regarding gender. Renowned French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote in 1825, “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are”; in the same way, ideals about what an individual should eat in a given society at a given time are closely linked to the social expectations regarding who that subject is “supposed” to be. The following article critically examines the constructions of idealized masculinity in “BEEF!,” a just-for-men culinary magazine that ran in France from April 2014 to December 2015. While the magazine denies ties to a particular gendered agenda, its language and images both construct and perpetuate a standard of masculinity based on professional cooking (vs. the work of a home cook) and the consumption of products (vs. the consumption of food). An analysis of the magazine’s photography reveals not only the relationship between cultural mediums and identity production, but also the subtle politics that shape Western views regarding consumption, gender, and hunger.