Food Justice Scholar-Activism and Activist-Scholarship
Working Beyond Dichotomies to Deepen Social Justice Praxis
A broad diversity of people and groups engage in food justice work throughout the world, aiming to dismantle uneven power dynamics in the food system from community- to global scales. Many such individual actors, often referred to as activists, represent communities that bear the brunt of food system injustices. Meanwhile, many academics, often referred to as scholars, have been eager to support community-based food justice efforts. Although much existing academic writing suggests that one can only be either a community activist or a scholar, the lines between food justice scholarship and activism are often blurry. Working beyond dichotomies can help to strengthen these initiatives; publishing analyses about how academics put food justice theories into practice is a part of such an effort.
In this themed section, we juxtapose the terms “activist-scholar” and “scholar-activist” to underscore the intersecting and different positionalities of people engaged in food justice work. The papers in this section are outcomes of two sessions on food justice scholar-activism and activist scholarship that we organized at the 2016 American Association of Geographers conference in San Francisco, California. Each of the papers productively questions the scholar-activist ‘dichotomy’ and provides a unique example of work that bridges this divide. In curating this collection of papers, we have sought to enrich a growing dialogue within the critical geography and critical food systems literature about how academics and activists can contribute to community-based food justice initiatives—through, and in addition to, our scholarly work.
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