SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Miss Nora Katharina Faltmann

Mag. (Vienna)
  • Overview
  • Research

Overview

Nora Katharina Faltmann
Name:
Miss Nora Katharina Faltmann
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PhD Research

Coming from the interface of critical development studies and food studies, the research explores urban residents’ perspectives on the topic of food safety in contemporary urban Vietnam. Amid the rapid socio-economic transformations since the country’s integration into the global capitalist economy in recent decades, food and its safety have become a contested field. In Vietnam, food safety refers to issues as diverse as deficient hygiene of street food or large-scale canteens, pesticide residues in produce, growth hormones in meat and counterfeit products. Food safety concerns range from food poisoning to long-term effects like cancer from chemical residues in food. To understand the ubiquity of food safety anxieties, they need to be contextualised in the complex interplay of a changing food system, neoliberal consumer discourse and governmental modernisation policies. The empirical research examines the perspectives of urban consumers, vendors and producers in Ho Chi Minh City on food safety issues and related questions of bodily integrity. By looking not only at people’s strategies to negotiate their concerns within everyday contact with food but also considering structural limitations to consume safer food, the thesis analyses the current food safety situation under aspects of accessibility. Therewith, the research sheds new light on the Vietnamese food safety debate by contextualizing people’s varying room for manoeuvre for responding to their food safety anxieties within the growing socio-economic disparities surfacing in the rapidly changing market economy of the officially socialist country. The research explores how said access is not only shaped by economic affordability but also by less obvious exclusion mechanisms like knowledgeability, social capital, and everyday life consumption practices. The concept of the foodscape is used to frame the discursive, structural and material aspects of food and its safety on various levels. It refers to issues as diverse as deficient hygiene of street food or large-scale canteens, pesticide residues in produce, growth hormones in meat and counterfeit products. Food safety concerns range from food poisoning to long-term effects like cancer from chemical residues in food. To understand the ubiquity of food safety anxieties, they need to be contextualised in the complex interplay of a changing food system, neoliberal consumer discourse and governmental modernisation policies. The empirical research examines the perspectives of urban consumers, vendors and producers in Ho Chi Minh City on food safety issues and related questions of bodily integrity. By looking not only at people’s strategies to negotiate their concerns within everyday contact with food but also considering structural limitations to consume safer food, the thesis analyses the current food safety situation under aspects of accessibility. Therewith, the research sheds new light on the Vietnamese food safety debate by contextualizing people’s varying room for manoeuvre for responding to their food safety anxieties within the growing socio-economic disparities surfacing in the rapidly changing market economy of the officially socialist country. The research explores how said access is not only shaped by economic affordability but also by less obvious exclusion mechanisms like knowledgeability, social capital, and everyday life consumption practices. The concept of the foodscape is used to frame the discursive, structural and material aspects of food and its safety on various levels.

Affiliations

Visiting Researcher from Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna

Research

Food safety, right to food, human-animal relations.