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.
Download my Curriculum Vitae.
My research and teaching areas include the sociology of food; cultural sociology; consumer culture; gender; environmental sociology and political ecology; and critical theory.
NEW: “How Do Producers Imagine Consumers? Connecting Farm and Fork Through a Cultural Repertoire of Consumer Sovereignty.”
Baumann, Shyon, Josée Johnston, and Merin Oleschuk. 2022. Sociologia Ruralis.
In this article, we use interviews and site visits to reconnect the spheres of meat production and consumption. We find that consumers loom large in the cultural imaginaries of food producers, who draw on a cultural repertoire of consumer sovereignty that frames consumer choice as a foundational element of capitalist societies.
NEW: “Moral and Aesthetic Consecration and Higher Status Consumers’ Tastes: The ‘Good’ Food Revolution.”
Baumann, Shyon, Emily Huddart Kennedy, and Josée Johnston. 2022. Poetics.
In this article, we use survey and focus group data to explore consumers’ orientations towards meat consumption. We identify and describe four key outlooks – pragmatism, aestheticism, moralism, and moral aestheticism – and find that individuals with higher social status are most likely to hold a moral aestheticism orientation.