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Title:Farmers' markets as contested sites: From neoliberal redevelopment governance to lifestyle activism
Author(s):DeMuynck, Erin
Director of Research:Wilson, David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Wilson, David
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McLafferty, Sara L.; Cidell, Julie; Jonas, Andrew
Department / Program:Geography & Geographic InfoSci
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):farmers' markets
Abstract:Farmers’ markets have grown dramatically in number and popularity in recent decades. They have become symbols of a re-emerging ethical and community-centered civic life and are frequently understood to be democratic, public spaces and to serve as counterpoints to an environmentally and socially harmful global marketplace. Here shopping is perceived as a political act. People shop at their local farmers’ market to express support for more environmentally friendly, healthy, and humane production methods. They also do so in order to obtain what is widely considered the best meat and produce available. Passing an enjoyable Saturday morning surrounded by family, friends, and community is an additional important attraction for farmers’ market shoppers. Whether they consider their motivations for shopping at the farmers’ market to be political, social, epicurean, or all three, farmers’ market shoppers tend to share a deep affinity for these places. Amid a swell of farmers’ market love, neoliberal mentalities and motivations can be detected. The recent explosion of farmers’ markets in the United States is due in no small part to their compatibility with and incorporation into the entrepreneurial strategies through which cities strive to be competitive. Here cities put these markets in the service of creating a marketable urban image and producing ideal neoliberal subjects. This dissertation uses ethnographic methods to examine the relationship between farmers’ markets and neoliberalization in three small (populations less than 100,000) cities in the Midwest: Champaign, Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa. Drawing on theories of governance and governmentality, I interrogate the ways in which farmers’ markets normalize and sustain neoliberalism as well as the ways they support its contestation and transformation. I find farmers’ markets to be highly complex spaces through which neoliberal ideology is both reinforced and challenged and through which certain types of contestation are marginalized and new forms are encouraged to emerge.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Erin DeMuynck
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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