Synopses & Reviews
A woman with hypertension refuses vegetables. A man with diabetes adds iron-fortified sugar to his coffee. As death rates from heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes in Latin America escalate, global health interventions increasingly emphasize nutrition, exercise, and weight lossand#151;but much goes awry as ideas move from policy boardrooms and clinics into everyday life. Based on years of intensive fieldwork, The Weight of Obesity offers poignant stories of how obesity is lived and experienced by Guatemalans who have recently found their dietsand#151;and their bodiesand#151;radically transformed. Anthropologist Emily Yates-Doerr challenges the widespread view that health can be measured in calories and pounds, offering an innovative understanding of what it means to be healthy in postcolonial Latin America. Through vivid descriptions of how people reject global standards and embrace fatness as desirable, this book interferes with contemporary biomedicine, adding depth to how we theorize structural violence. It is essential reading for anyone who cares about the politics of healthy eating.
In this groundbreaking study of organic farming, Julie Guthman challenges accepted wisdom about organic food and agriculture in the Golden State. Many continue to believe that small-scale organic farming is the answer to our environmental and health problems, but Guthman refutes popular portrayals that pit small organic” against big organic” and offers an alternative analysis that underscores the limits of an organic label as a pathway to transforming agriculture.
This second edition includes a thorough investigation of the federal organic program, a discussion of how the certification arena has continued to grow and change since its implementation, and an up-to-date guide to the structure of the organic farming sector. Agrarian Dreams delivers an indispensable examination of organic farming in California and will appeal to readers in a variety of areas, including food studies, agriculture, environmental studies, anthropology, sociology, geography, and history.
A meticulous academic study of the institutional dynamics of [California's] organic agriculture.”Steven Shapin, New Yorker
"Agrarian Dreams throws a cold shower of reality over the dream of organic agriculture in California, demonstrating all that is lost when organic farming goes industrial. This is a challenging book, and until we can answer the hard questions Julie Guthman poses, a genuinely sustainable agriculture will elude us."Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
"Julie Guthman has written a major study illuminating the problematic results of the struggle for standards in the organic farming sector of California...a guide for American citizens to return to the political issues that cannot go away: labor and land." Harriet Friedman, Journal of Agrarian Change
As death rates from heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes in Latin America escalate, global health interventions increasingly emphasize healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss. The Weight of Obesity explores how scientific descriptions of body weight are translated from policy boardrooms, clinics, and classrooms into everyday life. It is one of few attempts to ethnographically study the emergence of obesity as a social factand#151;describing what obesity means for people diagnosed as obese and how they respond to protocols of treatment. Whereas scientific and epidemiological projects have analyzed global obesity using population-level statistics, Emily Yates-Doerr takes an anthropological approach, studying how obesity is lived and experienced by those who have recently found their dietsand#151;and their weightsand#151;radically transformed. The stories included illustrate how information about obesity in Guatemalaand#8217;s postwar, postcolonial landscape is changing how people know their bodies and organize their lives.
About the Author
Emily Yates-Doerris Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. Her research attends to collisions between global and Indigenous politics, practices of translating between research and policy in the food sciences, and the methods of engaged anthropology. This is her first book.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
Preface to the Second Edition
1. Agrarian Dreams
2. Finding the Way: Roads to Organic Production
3. Organic Farming: Ideal Practices and Practical Ideals
4. California Dreaming: Californias Agro-Industrial Legacy
5. Organic Sediment: A Geography of Organic Production
6. Conventionalizing Organic: From Social Movement to Industry via Regulation
7. Organic Regulation Ramified
8. California Organics, Fifteen Years On