The ethics of consumption

pp 437-447

The ethics of consuming: community, agency, and participation in global food systems

  • D. BeckAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Michigan State University Email author 
  • , M. IvanovicAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Michigan State University
  • , S. NollAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Michigan State University
  • , I. WerkheiserAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Michigan State University

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It is easy enough to think about preparing food, growing food, and eating food as straight-forward affairs, or mere biological necessities. However, these processes are wrapped up in social relations, personal identities, and political power. Broadly critical frameworks can help pull apart the varying dimensions in this complex and dynamic relationship in order to provide guidance for reforming our relationship to the food we consume in a more democratic and participatory direction. To that end, we explore the normative implications of the current organization of the world food system from multiple perspectives in critical theory, the philosophy of science, and political philosophy. We offer ethical and political analyses at the levels of community activism, national food policy, and global consumerist capitalism to show how an approach that sees these multiple levels as interactive can provide concrete reasons for supporting certain effective solutions.


food safety local food movement critical theory and strong objectivity