W113
Disquiet eaters: uncertain materialities of scientific evidence (EN)

Convenors:
Emilia Sanabria (Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon)
Emily Yates-Doerr (University of Amsterdam)
Discussant:
Marilyn Strathern
Format:
Workshops
Location:
V211
Start time:
11 July, 2012 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This workshop examines the uncertainties that develop through the evidentiary practices of scientific measurements of food consumption. The papers consider the specific material properties of foods revealed by eaters' practices and scientific expertise in the field of nutrition.

Long abstract:

The practices of eating and the bodies therein formed are topics of considerable debate. Concerns over food and eating vary widely, involving global hunger, the so-called globesity epidemic, normative approaches to body-size, and endocrine approaches to eating behaviors and disordered eating. We explore the ways in which these concerns coalesce around the mobilization of scientific facts about food and bodies, increasingly depicted through numeric calculations such as calories, grams of fats or proteins or body mass index metrics. This workshop examines the uncertainties that develop through the evidentiary practices of scientific measurements of food consumption. In addition to concerns regarding the effects of food on health, certain foods (such as fats or sugar) are seen as having disquieting effects on eaters, subverting the subject's will. We invite papers that consider the specific material properties of foods revealed by eaters' practices or scientific expertise in the field of nutrition. While the category of the material generally comes to stand for what is fixed, the materiality of food is evanescent and the subject of scientific negotiation. This workshop interrogates how eaters navigate the uncertainty of the boundary between the body and foodstuffs. In cases of "disordered" eating, disquiet may arise around how this boundary is materialised or traversed. While scientific practices tend to standardise, fixing the substances of consumption and the bodies of eaters in place, the papers in this workshop suggest that the tangible materiality of food/bodies often remains opaque and slippery.