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Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Changing Geographies of Consumption and Production

7 Pages
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Department
Geography
Course Code
GGR107H1
Professor
Sarah Wakefield

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CHAPTER 6: CHANGING GEOGRAPHIES OF CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION 6.1. THINKING ABOUT FOOD  Food extends well beyond the biological significance for sustaining life and relates to humans and who we are  Food is a substance that links humans and nature and reveals important social, cultural and economic geographies  In terms of the social side there are food inequalities such as  Access to food  Good nutrition  Problems with obesity and diet  Wealth  Education  Places where access to affordable and health food is poor are known as food deserts which are prominent in urban areas  Food has cultural significance, and various dishes represent cultural, ethnic, and national dishes  The economic significance of food is enormous; intensive resources are used to produce them (people, production, retailing)  Food matters as an object of human geography, as food is connected through metaphorical and material; associations and are complex  Drinking a cup of coffee has numerous social and geographical connotations  Symbolic value (day-to-day routine)  It is a drug (caffeine provides the “lift”)  Past social and economic representation (colonization/mass-production)  A symbol of globalisation and world trade links (global brands: Starbucks, Nescafé)  In western society store shelves are often stocked with goods that come from all around the world  The need to ‘trace’ food production and consumption has been sparked due to ongoing public debates about obesity, food risks, etc...  The routes traced by particular food items follow it from ‘farm to fork’ which is often referred to as the food chain  Hartwick defines the food chain as “significant production, distribution, and consumption nodes, and the connecting links between them, together with social, cultural and natural conditions involved in commodity movements 6.2. CULINARY JOURNEYS – CONSTRASTNG CULTURES AND FOOD CONSUMPTION 6.2.1 CULINARY JOURNEY 1: FAST FOOD CULTURES  Fast food is part of the consumer culture  Meat burger  Frankfurter sausage  Fish and chips  Pizza  Samosas  Etc…  The global spread of the three largest fast food chains namely McDonalds, Burger King, and Tricon (KFC/Pizza Hut) has represented the fast food eating habits  Fast food is a central American way of life  1/5 American eat fast food everyday  Latin America and Asia are experience large boom in fast food chains (especially McDonalds)  There are four key elements that has succeeded McDonalds from consumers, workers and managers  Efficiency  The best available way to get from hungry to full  Where both parents are working  Single parent is struggling  The speed at which the food is available  Calculability  The option to upside meals are cheap  Customers quantify these deals and feel it is a good deal  People calculate the time it takes to be served food, drive and consumer it against cooking at home  Predictability  The assurance that products will be the same all over  Brand offers a feeling of reassurance  Behaviour of workers is predictable  Control  Restaurant offers limited menus, queue line, and uncomfortable seating to encourage customers to eat quickly and leave  Workers are controlled and are limited to a few jobs  However brands are adapting the way they make food in different cultures to satisfy consumers 6.2.2 CULINARY JOURNEY 2: SLOW FOOD CULTURE  The second culinary journey represent long-standing form of opposition to fast food chains  The slow food movement was established in Italy during the mid-1980 in response to the opening of a new McDonalds restaurant in the famous Piazza di Spagna  The opening of the restaurant was seen as a threat to traditional eating habits  Slow food is devoted to the promotion of ‘anti-fast-food’ culture  It heightened consumer to the awareness of ‘forgotten’ cuisine and the threats  It advertised though a publishing house which showed foods that were unknown or neglected  The objective of slow food is to decelerate the food consumption experience so that alternative forms of taste can be acquired 6.3. AGRARIAN QUESTIONS: FARMING, FOOD CHAINS, AND GLOBALIZATION  This section examines farming, food production, and global food supply  Globalization  Industrialization  Globalization: integration of systems among geographically dispersed places  Process of globalization has been guided by powerful Transnational Corporations  Institutions and actors  This has led to a new political economy of agriculture which employs mass production of manufacture food  Despite inequalities between developed and developing countries, they are linked together in highly industrialized and global networks  Historically, agriculture and industries have been more global than general  Food regimes linked international patterns of production and consumption (see pg. 151 fig. 6.1)  Food retailing in Europe and the USA is concentrated in the hands of a few supermarkets (Monopoly)  TNC’s and corporations are known to influence industrialization of farming and food production activities which are concentrated in the developed world 6.3.1 INDUSTRIALIZED AGRICULTURE IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD  Industrial agriculture was encourage by Governments after WWII in order to respond to food shortages  Farming has dominated the NA and EU since the 1950’s and employed industrial models of farming  Specialization of labor  Intensification  Assembly line production (Fordism)  These models have developed three important trends in the developing world  Concentration of agricultural production on a limited number of large scale farms  Increase on expenditure on agricultural inputs (chemicals, fossil fuels, etc...)  A growth in the processing of manufactured food  The production is linked to upstream (input supplies) and downstream (processing, distribution, and marketing)  Many of the world’s food supply is dominated by large agribusinesses that involve in the  Manufacture and distribute farm supplies  Production operation of the farm  Storage  Processing and distribution of farm commodities and items made from them  An example is the production of lettuce in California during the 1950’s and 1960’s 
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