Guest Lecture: V. Sujatha, JNU New Delhi
The antinomies of economic growth and public health -
Econometric and sociological conceptions of food and nutrition
The assessment of nutritional status of populations has always been a quantitative exercise that facilitates macro analysis, comparisons and policy interventions. The mainstream discourses on nutrition are based on the caloric conception of food as a biochemical substance. While this enables measurement, assessment and the provision of formulaic foods for the malnourished, it has its own limits. The biochemical and quantitative conception of food is most conducive to capital investment and industrial production of food that may not be healthy. Popular perceptions of food among communities and neighbourhoods indicate that there is a complicated dynamics between culture, cost and cuisine that cannot be grased by exclusive quantitative approaches. Drawing on field data from ongoing research in South India and South Africa, this working paper highlights the methodological and substantive issues in transposing statistical averages on existential realities of food and eating.
We have the pleasure to announce this guest lecture by Professor V. Sujatha, head of the Centre for the Studies of Social Systems at the GSP-partner Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
V. Sujatha's field of specialisation is the Sociology of knowledge and the Sociology of health and medicine with particular reference to traditional systems of medicine.