Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Journey (Part 2)

During my second quarter of grad school I was able to take a class entitled Environmental Politics, taught by UWB Professor Ben Gardner.  While the class was focusing primarily on the environment, we had a moderate size section devoted to food as well.  Towards the end of my first quarter I had begun to realize I wanted to focus my research on food and markets; therefore, I developed a project looking at, and comparing farmers markets to a local, high end grocery market.

To start the class off though I wrote a paper looking at the idea of media saturation, especially when it comes to food messages.  Statistics blast from media sources stating that “because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents” (Surgeon General, 2004); we are inundated with photos of our morbidly obese population; new documentaries and books are released yearly on the health crisis of America; new reality shows surrounding weight loss and transformation are becoming more popular; and it seems as though a new diet comes on the market every time you turn around.  What is the effect of this constant bombardment of statistics as the media represents them?  Is the knowledge making a difference or falling on deaf ears?  These were the questions I hoped to address in my paper and looking back I feel that as a beginner I did not do to bad of a job.  However, I definitely skimmed the surface and were I to go back I would look further into how these spaces interpelate or “hail” certain subjects and how these spaces are outcomes of political practices rather than simply inert spaces to be transformed by planners, activists or business people.

Later on in the quarter, I created a journal, somewhat like a scrapbook - gathering pictures, 'souvenirs' and writing entries about my experiences as I traversed these markets.  I feel that this project has been one of the most influential pieces of my research and contributed greatly to the development of my project.    

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