Seminar to examine the sociology of food and consumption

The next seminar in the New Research in Consumer Culture Series offered by the Schulich School of Business at York University will feature  two speakers, instead of the usual one. The lecture will take place this Friday, 10am to 12pm, in W357, Seymour Schulich Building on York’s Keele campus.

Professor Josee Johnston (right), Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, will present a lecture titled “The Citizen-Consumer Hybrid: Ideological Tensions and the Case of Whole Foods Market”.

With eating disorders and obesity on the rise along with an obsession with food, Johnston is hoping to show how these issues are interrelated to the politics of food and current farming practices. Her prime interest is in the sociology of food and where that fits in with globalization, political ecology, social movements, consumption and consumer culture.

Her most recent article, “Democracy versus Distinction: A Study of Omnivorousness in Gourmet Food Writing”, appeared in the American Journal of Sociology. She is currently working on another article for Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society titled, “Feminist Consumerism and Fat Activists: A Comparative Study of Grassroots Activism and the Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign”. Johnston is also working on a book about the sociology of food titled, Foodies: Status and Distinction in the American Foodscape, Johnston received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Alberta.

The second part of the lecture will be delivered by Robert Caruana (left), professor of marketing, Manchester Business School, UK. Caruana ‘s presentation is titled, “Deliver us from Evil”: a Critical Analysis of Liberatory Consumption Discourse”. In his presentation, Caruana will delve into consumer mythologies and marketing’s role in consumer consumption. He will also look at the power relationships between self and the other and how they conflict with the broader socio-moral agenda.

Caruana has a PhD from the University of Nottingham, UK and has previously held positions at the University of East Anglia and the University of Leicester. His current research interests concern the construction of responsibility and freedom within marketing communications to consumers. He has been published in the Journal of Marketing Management, Marketing Theory and the Journal of Consumer Behaviour.

For more information on this free seminar series, contact Vilda Palmer, Schulich School of Business, at ext. 55077 or e-mail