I am a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. My major substantive interest is the sociological study of food. I see food as a lens for investigating questions that lie at the intersection of multiple areas like culture, politics, gender and the environment. Much of my work examines discourses of ethical consumption, and investigates how consumers seek social transformation within the constraints of contemporary market forces. I am also deeply interested in the topic of foodies – what they value, how they eat, and why the hamburger remains such an iconic food. My latest research project focuses on the cultural politics of meat consumption.
Research & Teaching Areas: sociology of food; cultural sociology; consumer culture; gender; environmental sociology & political ecology; critical theory
Latest Article: “Moral Entrepreneurialism for the Hamburger: Strategies for Marketing a Contested Fast Food” – In this piece, published in Cultural Sociology, Natália Otto, Shyon Baumann, and I explore how McDonald’s, A&W, and Wendy’s use distinct discursive strategies – global managerialism, aestheticized simplicity, and nostalgic personalized appeals, respectively – to present hamburgers as good food in a context where beef is increasingly criticized as morally suspect. Our analysis provides a deeper understanding of marketing discourse at the nexus of social problems and consumption choices, and shows how corporations use informational and affective tools to be effective moral entrepreneurs.