Women Redefining the Experience of Food Insecurity
Life Off the Edge of the Table
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About the author
Janet Page-Reeves is research assistant professor with the Office for Community Health in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. She is also a senior fellow in The New Mexico Center for the Advancement of Research Engagement and Science on Health Disparities.
Women Redefining the Experience of Food Insecurity: Life Off the Edge of the Table is about understanding the relationship between food insecurity and women’s agency. The contributors explore both the structural constraints that limit what and how much people eat, and the myriad ways that women creatively and strategically re-structure their own fields of action in relation to food, demonstrating that the nature of food insecurity is multi-dimensional. The chapters portray how women develop strategies to make it possible to have food in the cupboard and on the table to be able to feed their families. Exploring these themes, this book offers a lens for thinking about the food system that incorporates women as agentive actors and links women’s everyday food-related activities with ideas about food justice, food sovereignty, and food citizenship. Taken together, the chapters provide a unique perspective on how we can think broadly about the issue of food insecurity in relation to gender, culture, inequality, poverty, and health disparity. By problematizing the mundane world of how women procure and prepare food in a context of scarcity, this book reveals dynamics, relationships and experiences that would otherwise go unremarked. Normally under the radar, these processes are embedded in power relations that demand analysis, and demonstrate strategic individual action that requires recognition. All of the chapters provide a counter to caricatured notions that the choices women make are irresponsible or ignorant, or that the lives of women from low-income, low-wealth communities are predicated on impotence and weakness. Yet, the authors do not romanticize women as uniformly resilient or consistently heroic. Instead, they explore the contradictions inherent in the ways that marginalized, seemingly powerless women ignore, resist, embrace and challenge hegemonic, patriarchal systems through their relationship with food.
; July 2014
324 pages; ISBN 9780739185278Read online
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Title: Women Redefining the Experience of Food Insecurity
Author: Janet Page-Reeves
In the press
Women Redefining the Experience of Food Insecurity: Off the Edge of the Table transforms our understanding of food insecurity and hunger in the U.S. and Central America. These 12 case studies focus on low-income women who must negotiate the constraints of the food system in order to put nutritious food on the table. They strategize in order to access food stamps and charity food pantries, find bargains in low-price grocery stores, and exercise skill and imagination as they cook meals in their kitchens. Most important, each chapter goes beyond the shopping cart and the dinner table to examine what is ‘off the edge of the table.’ These structural constraints include neoliberal economic policies that keep wages low and reduce public assistance, a corporate food system that creates ‘food deserts’ in low-income communities, and ideologies that demonize uneducated consumers who make poor food choices. In these vivid accounts women emerge as knowledgeable active agents who develop food access expertise and find new sources of power and identity as creative cooks and caregivers.