The focus of the Article
The article aims to not only develop a comprehensive understanding of how consumers from diverse class environments understand ethical eating and reinforce these ideas into routine food practices, but also to examine which participants in the sample have privileged access to ethical eating and which ones are comparatively disadvantaged (Johnston, Szabo, and Rodney 293-295). Drawing from these aims, it is evident that the article focuses on attempting to develop an adequate understanding of the extent to which privileged and disadvantaged populations within the community are challenged by issues of food ethics and ethical consumption.
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Position of the Authors
The authors project most of their arguments from the perspective that food ethics and ethical consumption may be used in contemporary times to solve social and ecological challenges facing populations within a community setting (Johnston, Szabo, and Rodney 293-296). The authors believe that ethical eating in cultural or community settings is influenced by factors such as socioeconomic status, class, and ethnocultural orientations. These factors, according to the authors, reinforce the symbolic boundaries that are prevalent in most societies and serve to show that eating practices have the capacity to segment or fragment society into several groups or classes (Johnston, Szabo, and Rodney 295-297).
Persuasiveness of Position
The authors use a qualitative research approach and an in-depth interview technique to collect data from 40 participants sampled from 20 families in two neighborhoods residing in Toronto (Johnston, Szabo, and Rodney 293). Thematic analysis is used to identify evidence from the interview transcripts for use in investigating “how ethical eating repertoires may be used to draw cultural and moral boundaries that provide a sense of distinction and differentiation from others” (Johnston, Szabo, and Rodney 299). It is evident that the methodology used to synthesize the needed evidence is effective in supporting the authors’ main ideas.
Reaction to the Authors’ Ideas
A major finding of the study is that economic and cultural privilege does appear to enhance access to dominant ethical eating repertoire, as participants from poor socio-demographic and ethnic backgrounds have minimal access to this selection of ethical eating habits (Johnston, Szabo, and Rodney 311). This finding reinforces my understanding of how people from low socioeconomic backgrounds contribute more to environmental degradation than the affluent.
As the findings show, this is due to unethical consumption patterns and unwillingness to maintain healthy eating habits. The finding that most people from rich economic backgrounds are culturally and socially conscious about ethical food practices (e.g., eating organic foods and drinking shade-grown coffee) serves to reinforce my understanding on how various food production techniques have worked to degrade the environment through harmful agricultural practices, excessive application of herbicides, and soil degradation. In a way, therefore, it is correct to argue that ethical food practices can be used to solve some of the environmental challenges being experienced in contemporary times.
The ideas and concepts presented in this study are related to the specific themes covered in the course, particularly in terms of understanding how we can use ethical food consumption habits to minimize adverse environmental concerns. From the study, it is clear that some food consumption practices and habits may lead to environmental degradation and other adverse outcomes. A major learning point is that socioeconomic and demographic conceptualizations of class, ethnicity, economic capital, and eating patterns can be used in understanding how humans continue to harm the environment through unethical consumption patterns. A comprehensive understanding of these factors, therefore, is of immense importance in developing food and environmental sustainability.
Johnston, Josee, Michelle Szabo and Alexandra Rodney. “Good food, good people: Understanding the cultural repertoire of ethical eating.” Journal of Consumer Culture 11.3 (2011): 293-318. MasterFILE Premier. Web.
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