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Stevano, Sara (2024) 'Ultra‐Processed Food, Depletion, and Social Reproduction: A Conceptual Intervention.' Antipode. (Forthcoming)

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What we eat and how we think about food and nutrition are undergoing a momentous change, driven by the rise of ultra‐processed food. There is a growing body of evidence linking the consumption of ultra‐processed food to poor health outcomes. However, the health depleting effects of ultra‐processed food go beyond changes in discrete indicators of nutrition and health. Processes of depletion entail social, economic, and political relations. This paper aims to emphasise the importance of a social science research agenda on ultra‐processed food by establishing the conceptual connections between ultra‐processed food and depletion using a social reproduction approach. To do this, it draws on the notion of depletion through social reproduction elaborated by Shirin Rai, Catherine Hoskyns and Dania Thomas, which provided inspiration to unpack the totality of social reproduction and consider specific resources needed for social reproduction. Such an approach reveals that ultra‐processed food is both an input for social reproduction, through consumption, and a form of social reproduction work, when food work and the associated (health) care work are considered. On this basis, the paper identifies four conceptual dimensions to explore whether and to what extent the expansion of ultra‐processed food can cause depletion and the key methodological principles to use this conceptual approach in empirical research.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: social reproduction, depletion, ultra-processed food, dietary change
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISSN: 00664812
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2024 07:40

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