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Italian food activism in urban Sardinia : place, taste, and community

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With her new book, Italian Food Activism in Urban Sardinia, cultural anthropologist Carole Counihan makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the growing global movement for food democracy.Providing a detailed ethnographic case study from Cagliari, the capital of the Italian island of Sardinia, she draws upon Sardinians' own descriptions of their actions and motivations to change their food.The book examines their pursuit of grassroots alternatives to the agro-industrial food system and its environmental degradation, homogenization of tastes, and unequal access.Believing that altering consumption can produce food system change – as well as environmental, political, and economic changes – food activists in Cagliari are actively building networks and relationships through workshops, farm visits, and commensality, whilst also participating in farmers markets, solidarity buying groups, and farm-to-school programmes.The book focuses on three key themes to emerge in interviews with Cagliari food activists: the significance of territorio (or place), the importance of taste, and the role of education.By exploring these areas of concern, Counihan uncovers key tensions in consumption as a force for change, in individual vs. group actions, and in gender and class power relations which are of crucial importance to wider global efforts to promote food democracy.A highly original contribution to food studies, anthropology, sociology, geography, and Italian studies.

Carole Counihan is Professor Emerita of Anthropology, Millersville University, USA.

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