Food history can be approached from many angles. One of them is a cultural-historical perspective, focusing on traditions and attitudes in the production and consumption of food. Food production, processing and distribution also play a crucial role in the economy, creating formal and informal employment for a considerable part of the population. In their Manifesto for the Foundational Economy (2013), a group of scholars pleaded for a ‘gestalt flip’ in economic policy by paying more attention to the foundational economy. That is “the sector of the economy that provides goods and services taken for granted by all members of the population and that is therefore territorially distributed”. Today, the foundational economy employs 40% of the workforce. The food sector is a good example of a foundational economy with a diversified supply and distribution chain. The sector is of crucial importance in offering economic security and social sustainability but has an indirect impact on other sectors of production (tableware, storage facilities, …) as well.
In this workshop, we want to reflect on the importance of the foundational economy for economic growth and social wellbeing by focusing on “food”. We therefore welcome papers that address “food” from an economic or social historical perspective, or combine cultural with social or economic aspects of food production and distribution in the past, and that deal with the pre-industrial Low Countries in itself or in a comparative perspective. Possible topics are: food production, survival strategies, changes in landholding and landownership, rural-urban relations, transport, food processing, food markets, shops, peddling, food storage and preservation, food regulations, government intervention in food distribution, and so on.
The workshop will be organized by the network “Economy and Society of the Pre-Industrial Low Countries in a Comparative Perspective” of the N.W. Posthumus Institute in co- operation with VUB-FOST (Social and Cultural Food Studies), and will take place in Brussels on Friday 22 June 2018. We will provide a keynote on food and the foundational economy (tbc) and will conclude with a round table, setting a research agenda on food and economy.
Abstracts can be sent to Heidi.firstname.lastname@example.org before 15 February 2018. Participants will be notified before 1 March and will receive all practical information by then.
Please note that transport and accommodation are not covered.
Heidi Deneweth (VUB)
Jessica Dijkman (UU)
More information on the foundational economy
Justin Bentham, Andrew Bowman, Marta de la Cuesta, Ewald Engelen, Ismail Ertürka, Peter Folkman, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, John Law, Adam Leaver, Mick Moran, Karel Williams, Manifesto for the Foundational Economy (CRESC Working Paper 131) http://hummedia.manchester.ac.uk/institutes/cresc/workingpapers/wp131.pdf