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The Unending Hunger

The Unending Hunger: Tracing Women and Food Insecurity Across Borders

Megan A. Carney
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Unending Hunger
    Book Description:

    Based on ethnographic fieldwork from Santa Barbara, California, this book sheds light on the ways that food insecurity prevails in women’s experiences of migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States. As women grapple with the pervasive conditions of poverty that hinder efforts at getting enough to eat, they find few options for alleviating the various forms of suffering that accompany food insecurity. Examining how constraints on eating and feeding translate to the uneven distribution of life chances across borders and how "food security" comes to dominate national policy in the United States, this book argues for understanding women’s relations to these processes as inherently biopolitical.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95967-5
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-38)

    Struggling to feed her children and fearing the possibility of hunger, Malena perceived no other option but to migrate in search of work from her home state of Guerrero, Mexico, to the United States. She lived with relatives in Santa Barbara, California, while she tried to find employment. Both the language barrier and the risks associated with her unauthorized status instilled fear in Malena and posed further challenges to surviving her surroundings. Despite finally securing a job as a hotel house keeper in which she regularly clocked more than seventy hours per week, there was still never enough time or...

  6. CHAPTER ONE “We Had Nothing to Eat”: The Biopolitics of Food Insecurity
    (pp. 39-66)

    It is mid-December 2010 and I am arriving at the home of Betanía, a woman in her early sixties whom I met at a nutrition outreach event organized by the food bank. The address she provided me over the phone takes me to the Eastside neighborhood of Santa Barbara, a predominantly Latino residential area flanked on one side by the range of mountains that separate Santa Barbara from Montecito and on the other side by the commercial zone of Milpas Street. As I approach the carport leading up to a side entrance of the small, nondescript house whose address I...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Caring through Food: La Lucha Diaria
    (pp. 67-98)

    “I think that every person must have the ambition to get ahead, more than anything to ensure what is necessary,” comments Yolanda. “That is food. Food comes first, before material things. Material things come and go; it’s food that comes first and is the thing that is needed.”

    As so many migrants before her who have associated coming to the United States with the prospect of “getting ahead,” Yolanda’s words are a subtle reminder that getting enough to eat represents, above all else, the most important means of survival. Yolanda alludes to the set of personal obligations that inform one’s...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Nourishing Neoliberalism? Narratives of Sufrimiento
    (pp. 99-129)

    In the above account, Luisa alludes to the collective experience of suffering both in Mexico and in the United States (using the form “we”) while also noting how the parameters of suffering have shifted. Present in her account is a reference to the coproduction of these new forms of suffering associated with the process of resettlement and a feeling of nostalgia for what existed before. Moreover, part of the collective experience of suffering stems from the desire for what represents an impossible return (“One wanted … to relive the time there, but when?”

    Feelings of loss and nostalgia as endemic...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Disciplining Caring Subjects: Food Security as a Biopolitical Project
    (pp. 130-163)

    Public health practitioners and food system activists in the United States have both become concerned with the health consequences of a food system that they interpret as unregulated, particularly in terms of allowing for an abundance of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor, cheap foods (California Center for Public Health Advocacy et al. 2008). They highlight the relationship of malnutrition, in the form of consuming calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods, to diet-related disease, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and cancer (Guthman 2011). Obesity prevention campaigns, as well as nutrition education and food literacy programs are now common, popularized for instance through...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Managing Care: Strategies of Resistance and Healing
    (pp. 164-193)

    As I stated in this book’s Introduction, thebiopolitics of food insecurityand thebiopolitical project of food securityare concurrent processes shaping the lived experiences of women who have migrated from Mexico and Central America. To recapitulate this argument, the biopolitics of food insecurity are visible in the uneven distribution of life chances that impel many women to migrate in the first place; the biopolitical project of food security is an instrument of contemporary governmentality that structures how women are supposed to comport themselves and care for their families. These biopolitical modes do not operate independently of one another...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 194-207)

    I began this book by arguing that the lived experiences of women migrating from Mexico and Central America to the United States offer a unique vantage point from which to interrogate the overlapping biopolitical modes of food insecurity and the project of food security, but I do not suggest that this is the only place we can turn for analyzing these processes. Instead I have put forward this conceptual framework so that we might rethink how we approach studies of migration and food insecurity. Indeed, the pool of people vulnerable to and displaced by policy changes related to the deepening...

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 208-210)

    I recently heard a story on National Public Radio about a food bank somewhere in the middle of the country that was petitioning Walmart to provide higher wages to its workers instead of donating surplus food to charities. One Walmart employee was quoted as saying that he finds it absurd that the food he sees being discarded at work he later collects for his own consumption through a local food pantry. If Walmart could afford to donate this surplus, couldn’t it afford to compensate its own employees with a living wage?

    My students are often perplexed by the seeming contradictions...

    (pp. 211-212)
    (pp. 213-216)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 217-218)
    (pp. 219-240)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 241-254)