This book explores the new applications of established theories or adapts theoretical approaches in order to illuminate behaviour in the field of food. It focuses on social processes at the downstream end of the food chain, processes of distribution and consumption. The book reviews the existing disciplinary approaches to understanding judgements about food taste. It suggests that the quality 'halal' is the result of a social and economic consensus between the different generations and cultures of migrant Muslims as distinct from the non-Muslim majority. Food quality is to be viewed in terms of emergent cognitive paradigms sustained within food product networks that encompass a wide range of social actors with a wide variety of intermediaries, professional and governmental. The creation of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) occurred at a juncture when perceptions of policy failure were acknowledged at United Kingdom and European Union governmental levels. The book presents a case study of retailer-led food governance in the UK to examine how different 'quality logics' actually collide in the competitive world of food consumption and production. It argues that concerns around food safety were provoked by the emergence of a new food aesthetic based on 'relationalism' and 'embeddedness'. The book also argues that the study of the arguments and discourses deployed to criticise or otherwise qualify consumption is important to the political morality of consumption.
It is probably safe to say that every edited book is the product of a journey. It is probably also safe to say that alongside the endeavours of this journey, such a book has far more intellectual parents than those people who end up on the cover as editors. In this case, things started off with a summer school on ‘Security, borders and mobility’, which was jointly organised in Brussels by the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies, King’s College London, and Sciences Po Paris in September 2013. There were a great many compelling conversations and discussions during those two weeks in Brussels – however, during a workshop led by Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet and Philippe Bonditti, a particularly interesting debate about the role of discourses and materialities in the organisation of security and mobility emerged. And then things took off from there.
What had originally begun with a little exercise in free association, problematising the seemingly banal concept of ‘the door’ – thereby highlighting distinct forms and functions of doors, their underlying concepts and imaginaries, and their effects and implications on security and mobility – almost naturally turned into a larger project to explore the role of materialities of security and mobility. Panels for the British International Studies Association 2014 conference in Dublin and the International Studies Association 2015 conference in New Orleans were organised. A workshop entitled ‘Security/Mobility: Between Imagination and Authority’ took place at the University of Amsterdam in September 2014. In short: the conversation continued. So we decided to take things another step forward by turning the workshop contributions into this edited collection. Writing this preface, we look back with pleasure on what has happened in the past two years, and we are excited to keep the conversations going. A workshop dedicated to the book’s theme at the European Workshops in International Studies 2016 in Tuebingen will offer another opportunity to engage the subject of Security/Mobility in empirical depth.
However, the most important point here is to highlight that we as editors have not been alone in this project. Far from it. This is most tellingly reflected in the fact that the introduction to this book has six authors. Sharon Weinblum, Bruno Magalhães, Marijn Hoijtink, and Marie Beauchamps have been closely involved in the conceptualisation of this book. We are grateful for their critical reflections as well as their support all along the way – not only academically speaking, but also as friends. They also formed the group with which we put together the Security/Mobility workshop in 2014 – with Marijn and Marie doing most of the organisational groundwork in Amsterdam. Put differently: this book is part of a larger collaboration.
This collaboration has in turn benefited from a number of people who have provided the space and the means to push conversations forward. So in random order, we would like to thank: Didier Bigo and Cultures et Conflits, Tugba Basaran, Marieke de Goede and the University of Amsterdam (particularly, the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, the Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies, and the NWO VIDI project ‘European Security Culture’), Luis Lobo-Guerrero and the University of Groningen (particularly, the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture), Louise Amoore, Debbie Lisle, Manchester University Press and their staff, Anna Tilling, and of course the contributors to this book.
And maybe most of all thanks go to Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet, who, more or less inadvertently, has sparked all of this, and who has provided invaluable guidance. We are all the more happy that he was willing to provide the concluding chapter for this book.
Tuebingen/Groningen, November 2015