Sunday, July 15, 2018

Shared Lunch: An Ethnography of Food Sovereignty in Whaingaroa and Beyond (my PhD thesis)

Image credit: Elaine Casap, Unspash

It has been a while since I've posted here. I completed my PhD in 2017 and I'm pleased to report that the examiners loved it! The final exam was a wonderful experience and it was great to have the support of close friends and family with me for the process.

Here are the quotes from the examiners:

Thank you for devoting you time and energy into this timely, relevant and enlightening thesis...This is a rare find.
Once I found time to devote to it, I could not put it down. It is practical, professional, personal and political. It calls for action without being a ‘biased activist’ type of thesis.
It simply needs to be published and shared with wider audiences as it provides a useful template for researching community development and grassroots actions…
Local focus is balanced with a bigger picture and current global issues in the world which makes this thesis timely and relevant. 
Ksenija Napan  -  Associate Professor, Massey University

Let me first aknowlege that this is one of the best-written dissertations I have ever read in over 30 years at this!
I was skeptical at first about Ritchie’s ability to “draw together the threads” and had to read quite far into the document to begin to see it – but then it was there!
In this way, the reader was able to slowly integrate the bits, possibly much like the researcher had sone, and it worked beautifully. It almost reads like a novel, it is so interesting, and I very much enjoyed reading it!
Grace Ann Rosile,  -  Professor, New Mexico State University

And here is the beginning of the abstract:

Food presents complex interconnectedness between inner and outer; social and political; culture and biochemistry; values and practices; tradition and innovation; wealth and poverty; the global, local and highly personal. Amid this multifaceted intersection vast bodies of contemporary academic literature have emerged. This study is an ethnography of alternative food networks; of food sovereignty and social economics. More specifically it is an ethnography of a community of small-scale local food providers in Whaingaroa, a small coastal township in Aotearoa [New Zealand]. Through the lenses provided by perspectives of these food providers, the global corporate food system is critiqued. Through their everyday practices, alternatives have been developed which offer potential solutions to widely recognised problems associated with environmental and social exploitation. These problems are largely attributed to the current dominant global systems of corporate capitalism, including the dominant systems of food production, consumption and disposal.


You can read the full thesis here.
Thank you for following my research journey on this blog. It has really helped to shape my thinking around my Masters and PhD research.

What's next?
I've just published my second novel, Fishing for Māui, which has themes around food, family and mental illness. I drew a lot from my Masters research in writing this novel and I'm so pleased to finally be publishing it! You can read more about it on my website. It is available from the distributor, on Amazon, MeBooks, Bookdepository, Smashwords, and all good bookstores and libraries in New Zealand!

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