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David Denny Presents at National Conference on Food and Sustainability

Dr. David Denny, chair of the Department of Culture & Media, presented a paper entitled "Sex, Food, and Sustainability" at New York University for the Association for the Study of Food and Society conference in June 2012.


This paper argues that the so-called food movement, centered around buying organic and local, becomes mired in a liberal elitism insofar as it holds on to a moral behaviorist, one consumer at a time, paradigm. Contrary to the appeal of virtuous sacrifice, like paying a little bit more or cooking better meals, et cetera, what is needed is an emancipatory political discourse that interrogates the economics of food. In order to get to the core of this problem I will create a direct relation between sex and food in order to shed light on how food enacts its own ideological blinders. My theoretical point of departure is Jacques Lacan's ontological claim that what frames human relation is the impossibility of the sexual relation. Essentially, I will posit that love is to sex, what sustainability is to food: Each acts as a fantasmatic supplement to suture the impossible relation between, on the one hand, self and other, and, on the other, food and health. To traverse the liberal fantasy of sustainability, we need an ethics informed by Immanuel Kant and Sigmund Freud to accompany an economic and political movement.

More about the Association for the Study of Food and Society

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