Forthcoming in Antipode 47:5, “The Family Behind the Farm: Race and the Affective Geographies of Manitoba Pork Production” by Kate Cairns, Deborah McPhail, Claudyne Chevrier and Jill Bucklaschuk is now available online.
Asked about their research and its implications for praxis, that is, how it might help change or shape the world in progressive ways, Kate and colleagues explained that…
…at a time when many are concerned about the environmental and social impacts of the industrial food system (it’s National Farmworker Awareness Week 24-31 March 2015), the “family farm” is often celebrated as the antithesis to factory farming. However, our research suggests that it is crucial to maintain a critical perspective on appeals to the family farm. We examine how the Manitoba Pork Council invokes pride in the family farm in order to promote pork sales. Masked in the feel-good imagery of smiling parents and children, this idealized family farm reproduces geographies of whiteness and heteronormativity, obscuring political struggles over land claims and migrant labour justice. This research has important implications for activists challenging the racial and sexual injustices that may be perpetuated through contemporary food politics. We urge those working in this area to adopt an anti-racist, feminist approach to the family farm ideal, and to think carefully about this way ideal is deployed within food movements.
You can watch Kate talking about the paper below:
Kate Cairns is an assistant professor in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden. Her research explores how children and youth are constructed as the promise of collective futures, and has appeared in Ethnography and Education, the Journal of Consumer Culture and Gender and Education.
Deborah McPhail is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Deborah’s interdisciplinary work on the social aspects of obesity has been published in such journals as Health and Place and Social Science and Medicine. Her current work focuses on the interplay among obesity discourse, food access, traditional eating practices, and social inequalities.
Also in Manitoba’s Department of Community Health Sciences, Claudyne Chevrier is a PhD student interested in the social determinants of health, social inequalities and gendered access to quality health care. Her thesis focuses on the history of interventions around the sex trade in Winnipeg, and on access to health care for sex trade workers.
Jill Bucklaschuk is a PhD student in Manitoba’s Department of Sociology. Jill’s research interests include rural sociology – and in particular farm women’s work, identity, and gender relations on family farms – as well as rural restructuring, rural immigration, social movements, social solidarity, and qualitative methodology.