Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Gregory V. Button

Committee Members

Tricia Redeker-Hepner, Damayanti Banerjee, De Ann Pendry


This dissertation examines the socio-economic and eco-political dimensions of contemporary localist food movements in Knoxville, Tennessee. More specifically, it explores the implications of the mutualistic and networked socio-economies (solidarity and/or community economies) of such movement expressions as they are experienced, embodied, and understood among the small-scale, independent food-related business owners who often serve as the interpellators of such movements. This study is likewise concerned with ways in which movement actors are actively shaping/creating place (via the processes of emplacement), and relatedly, the way place—as an entity possessive of its own accretions of environmental, historical, cultural, economic, and political identities—shapes actors, therefore determining the textures of particular localisms in return. Such processes and expressions, while explicitly oriented toward the recovery and reassertion of the “local,” however, are also necessarily embedded in the structural matrix of neoliberal globalization. Indeed, it is precisely from the negotiation of such global/local dialectics that localist food movements draw their oppositional political value. Accordingly, the study is also preoccupied with the ways in which localist food movements, particularly in their contestational positioning vis-a-vis the global industrial food system, are also actively producing new, and perhaps critical-neoliberal subjectivities that bridge post-Fordist symbolic and cultural economies on the one hand, with affective solidarity economies on the other.

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