Michaela DeSoucey

Picture of Michaela DeSoucey

Assistant Professor

Teaching and Research Interests

Culture; Markets and Politics; Organization Theory; Social Movements; Globalization/Localization; Food; Consumers and Consumption; Law & Society; Qualitative Methodologies


My research and teaching centers on how varied relationships among markets, social movements, and state systems shape the cultural and moral politics of food.

My book, Contested Tastes: Foie Gras and the Politics of Food, was recently published with Princeton University Press in June 2016. Through ethnographic, historical, media, and interview-based data, I find that while foie gras has come to be inextricably linked to national distinction and cultural protectionism in France based on fears of globalizing markets, in the U.S. it maps onto battles over both animal rights and the acceptable purview of government regulation of consumption.  I draw upon and consider implications for research in the areas of cultural meaning-making and contestation over the development of consumer tastes, organizational and social environments for regulation and law, and new social movements based in consumer and market identities. 

I have also recently published an article examining cosmopolitanism and cultural diversity among supermarket products in the UK and France, and have begun a large-scale research project theorizing the role of 'proximity risk' in understanding social, cultural, and organizational responses to the current 'epidemic' of peanut allergy.

I have also conducted research and published articles on the construction and marketing of naturalness in food industry business-to-business magazines, the growth of a market for grass-fed beef and dairy products out of social movement foundations, the rhetoric of organizational restructuring, and local food movements’ responses to the regulation and institutionalization of the organic food label by the USDA.


  • PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University, 2010
  • MA in Sociology from Northwestern University, 2004
  • BA in Sociology & Anthropology from Swarthmore College, 2000