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Discourses and Practices of Whiteness in the Alternative Food Movement in Halifax, Nova Scotia


Discourses and Practices of Whiteness in the Alternative Food Movement in Halifax, Nova Scotia

MacSwain, Kayleigh (2017) Discourses and Practices of Whiteness in the Alternative Food Movement in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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The alternative food movement is a collaborative effort to build more environmentally and socially just food systems in order to enhance the health and resiliency of communities. Contemporary trends in food politics have emerged in Canada over the past 40 years, as people work to develop equitable alternatives to the dominant agrifood system. This thesis intervenes at this point and interrogates the discourses and practices within the alternative food movement with the aim of illustrating how race and class based oppressions can be unknowingly embedded in the workings of an organization. It does this through discourse analysis and participant observation, which forms the basis of a case study of The Food Action Committee (FAC) in Halifax, N.S. Drawing on an interdisciplinary literature with a particular emphasis on critical geography, this thesis demonstrates that the circulation of whitened discourses and practices in FAC can inadvertently naturalize and reinforce exclusionary processes which may engender particular exclusions. These forms of inequality - including historical processes of dispossession and racial and other exclusions – are felt most strongly in the marginal communities the committee aims to support. This occurs through an adherence in the organization to discourses of universalism and colour blindness, as well as to universalizing practices such as exclusionary conceptualizations of community and participation. While it is clear that FAC is well intentioned in regards to diversity within the organization, this critique opens a path towards a more genuine form of social inclusion in the organization and in the alternative food movement.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:MacSwain, Kayleigh
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:6 May 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Gould, Kevin
Keywords:Alternative Food Movement, Food, Race, Class, Power, Social Memory, National Mythology
ID Code:982532
Deposited On:09 Jun 2017 15:23
Last Modified:10 Jun 2019 00:00


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