French Beans and Food Scares: Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age
From mad cows to McDonaldization to genetically modified maize, European food scares and controversies at the turn of the millennium provoked anxieties about the perils hidden in an increasingly industrialized, internationalized food supply. These food fears have cast a shadow as long as Africa, where farmers struggle to meet European demand for the certifiably clean green bean. But the trade in fresh foods between Africa and Europe is hardly uniform. In a voyage that begins in the mid-19th century and ends in the early 21st, passing by way of Paris, London, Burkina Faso and Zambia, French Beans and Food Scares illuminates the daily work of exporters, importers and other invisible intermediaries in the global fresh food economy. These intermediaries' accounts provide a unique perspective on the practical and ethical challenges of globalized food trading in an anxious age. They also show how postcolonial ties shape not only different societies' geographies of food supply, but also their very ideas about what makes food good.
"This is a fascinating, funny, and very well written multi-sited ethnography about globalization.” --Annals of the Association of American Geographers
"A genuine contribution to the ever-expanding field of food studies. American readers will be interested in the questions Freidberg raises about the extent to which power can be exercised by consumers over producers, inside particular kinds of state systems. Throughout, she does not forget that cultures can help to shape economies."
--Sidney W. Mintz, Research Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
"Freidberg's theoretical insights and vivid narrative make this a fascinating study, a thoughtful and historically sophisticated look into contemporary food systems. This book is essential reading, and sets a new standard for scholars of agriculture, food and globalization."
--Deborah Fitzgerald, Professor of History and Technology, MIT Program in Science, Technology and Society, and author of Every Farm in a Factory: The Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture
“This engaging, witty, and well-written book will have substantial cross-disciplinary appeal for scholars of agrarian change, food politics, globalization, and neoliberalism."
“Ultimately, French Beans and Food Scares is a humane, deeply ethical book…Buy it, get your university library to buy it or place it on one of your course reading lists.”--Progress in Human Geography