RSO-31806 Sociology of Food and Place


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work
Excursion (one day)4
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. JSC Wiskerke
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. JSC Wiskerke
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. JSC Wiskerke

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

RSO-30806 The Sociology of Farming and Rural Life; SDC-30306 Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives on Development; ENP-31806 Globalization and Sustainability of Food Production and Consumption; SDC-32806 Sociology in Development: Towards a Critical Perspective.


The course aims to provide a theoretical, empirical and methodological understanding of place-based development processes, with an emphasis on agro-food, rural and regional dynamics in urbanizing societies. It builds upon several BSc and MSc courses (see courses mentioned above under 'assumed prerequisite knowledge).
This course will, on the one hand, deepen and integrate themes and topics as well as theoretical concepts and perspectives of these courses, and on the other hand elaborate on topics (empirically and theoretically) such as socio-spatial differentiation processes, place-based development paths, alternative food geographies, sustainable place-shaping, place branding, food citizenship, food movements and urban food provisioning. By presenting and discussing recently completed and on -going research projects a wide range of research methodologies will be introduced.
As such this course acquaints students with the most important scientific theoretical perspectives and paradigms of agro-food dynamics and rural and regional transformation processes and their social, political and academic context. In doing so the course presents a comprehensive framework for a thorough analysis of the heterogeneous and multidimensional character of socio-spatial transformation processes. Within that framework the on-going scientific and policy debates about food provisioning and place-based development fall into place.
In addition to a thorough and in-depth elaboration of these debates, food provisioning and place based development practices will be analysed. This is among others achieved through research presentations by PhD students, analysis of case studies from current and recently completed research projects, movies and excursions. As a result students come to understand the methodological questions and need of trans- disciplinary to deal with the multiple facets of food provisioning and place-based development dynamics.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand past and current sociological debates about food provisioning and place based development processes and their changing social and political context;
- analyse the multi-actor, multi-level and multi-aspect dynamics of food provisioning and place based development;
- evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical concepts and perspectives used to analyse the complexity and dynamics of food provisioning and place-based development;
- operationalise theoretical concepts and perspectives by applying them in the design of research; - identify appropriate methods for conducting sociological research on food and place;
- draft a research proposal on one of the topics of or related to the course.


- lectures;
- debates in class about lectures and literature;
- self-study;
- field trips;
- tutorials about applying sociological perspectives and concepts in research design - group assignment (writing a research proposal).


- group (or individual) assignment (25%);
- written exam with open questions (75%).
To pass the written exam requires a minimum mark of 5.50.


Scientific articles via blackboard.

Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScB: Sustainable Food Systems5MO
MLPLandscape Architecture and PlanningMScA: Landscape Architecture5MO
MIDInternational Development StudiesMScA: Sociology of Development5MO