Food, Psychology, and the Environment by Christine C. Caruso

Food is fundamental to human experience and has interested social scientists in general, and psychologists in particular, for decades. As early as the 1940s, Abraham Maslow suggested that food was essential to understanding human motivations and needs. Subsequently, food-related practices and behaviors became fertile area of study, drawing in important issues of culture, behavior and nutrition. More recently, previously neglected environmental factors related to food have framed investigations of provisioning and eating behaviors.

The list of recommended readings presented here for “Food, Psychology, and the Environment” represent the breadth of approaches in psychological understanding and investigation into food practice with consideration to personal, social, and environmental consequences of consumption related behaviors. These readings reach back into early writings, including Maslow’s seminal work, and move forward to explore the evolving meaning of food in everyday life. This reading list also focuses on the ways in which the built environment presents affordances for various food practices through the distribution of food resources, as well as other cues and messages that shape the way we think about and practice food and eating. Finally, it is important to highlight that the food environment is not a “given” but is constructed by social forces that implicate issues of power and agency. As such, topics including food justice and alternative food networks, along with the conventional food system are explored through many of the readings included here.

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