Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Democratizing University Foodscapes? Student Food Cooperatives and the Neoliberal University
by Marple, Amanda, M.A., West Virginia University, 2018, 66; 10752427
Abstract (Summary)

According to a report published in 2015, the National Center for Education estimated that over 20 million students were forecasted to enroll in higher education in the 2016–17 school year, situating American universities as major institutional food retailers. Over the past two decades, corporate food providers have increasingly sought long-term public and private university contracts as a means to expand their reach into lucrative campus food landscapes (foodscapes), replacing in-house services with cheaper, more “efficient, and “productive” dining strategies. Companies such as Sodexo, Aramark, and Bon Appetit control the foodscapes of many university campuses across the United States, creating food environments dominated by corporate interests.

However, at the same time these corporate food service providers have colonized university food terrains, a growing movement of consumers concerned with ethical food sourcing have driven students across the United States to seek alternatives to dominant food sourcing strategies on their campuses. In a context of increased corporate control over their university foodscapes, student across the US have launched campaigns aiming to develop and establish student food cooperatives (SFCs), organizations seeking to assert the availability of sustainable, ethical, and healthy food options on campus in addition to pushing for more student decision-making power within their university food environments (Marsden, 2000).

It is within this context that my thesis aims to explore if and how student food cooperatives are creating new spaces for food sovereignty and if they are democratizing the control over their university food systems through campus based food initiatives.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wilson, Bradley R.
Commitee: Gorman, Cynthia, Renfrew, Daniel
School: West Virginia University
Department: Arts & Sciences
School Location: United States -- West Virginia
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Food Science, Geography, Higher education
Keywords: Alternative economies, Food sovereignty, Neoliberal university, Student activism, Student food cooperative
Publication Number: 10752427
ISBN: 9780355937619
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