Social Scientist

Mimi Sheller is a key theorist in mobilities studies. She is Professor of Sociology and founding Director of the New Mobilities Research and Policy Center at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She was co-founder with John Urry of the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster.


The debates on food embody wider issues of sustainability, ethics and social justice. What we eat can be a platform for political activism.

Mimi Sheller

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There has been an explosion of academic interest in food mobilities and food geographies, which mirrors the great public interest in all kinds of food matters. Food contamination, ethical and local consumption, fair trade, food security and hunger, global commodity chains and traceability are all hot issues at the moment.

Food has also become an important medium for exploring material geographies in terms of new practices, methods, outputs and textures. Food is thought of now as performative.

Food is often researched, especially because it can help to vividly animate the tensions between the small and intimate realm of embodiment, domesticity and the ordinary, but also the more sweeping terrain of global political economy, sustainability and the vitality of nature.

Food, like other commodities, links consumers with unknown and distant others, creating connections from farm to fork and between field and plate. Within this body of work, considerable efforts have been made to research and make public possible food economies outside of the agribusiness-driven production-consumption relations. There’s a growing interest in the economies that are cultivated through ethical concerns over how to survive well with others, and how to generate and redistribute social surplus.

New forms of cultural activism have emerged that aim both to shame corporations into action through documentary exposés, investigative journalism and best-selling books, but also to imaginatively engage consumers in trade-justice activism in more visceral, effective and playful ways that use food as the medium for political activism.

To quote this publication:
Mimi Sheller (2013, 9th of September), « The politics of food mobility », Mobile Lives Forum. Connnexion on 1st of December 2015, URL:


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