My research focuses on the sociological drivers and outcomes of contentious food politics. Most recently, I have been investigating how different social inequalities intersect with the food system, and the simultaneous ways in which social movements use food to resist and alter power relations. This includes a specific interest in why food movement organizations adopt and/or promote different labor practices and land use strategies. I also attend to the coalition development process, and the tensions inherent in bridging desires for socially just and environmentally sustainable food systems.
In short, I study various intersections between the environment, food and agriculture, and social movements. While food is my focus, it helps me to address a broad range of sociological questions around social change, political economy, urban development, race and class relations, human/nature relations, and power.
My first book, Food Justice Now!: Inequality and the Expanding Politics of Social Struggle (Under Contract, University of Minnesota Press), combines ethnography, case study, and historical comparative methods into a study of food movements and urban food politics in California. I advance a dialectical analysis of how social inequalities obstruct actualizing food justice and reflect historical conjunctures that produce an array of social struggles. My focus on how food intersects with the prison industrial complex, immigration, and labor conditions shows why food movements are expanding their food politics to resolve the contradiction between inequitable social conditions and their longings for social justice.
I teach courses on the sociology of food and agriculture, food justice, social movements, and social problems.