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Food and Environment

A Specialization of NC State's Ph.D. in Sociology Program


Our concentration in Food and Environment brings together two distinct but related subfields in sociology: the sociology of food and food systems and environmental sociology. We analyze how people, markets, and institutions shape and are shaped by natural systems. Likewise, studying food and environmental systems offers meaningful lenses for understanding and building theories about social relations, culture, inequality, and politics.

Students and professors in this subfield conduct research on a range of topics, including conventional and alternative agricultural systems, sustainable development, producer and consumer activism, food culture and politics, the social drivers of environmental degradation and renewal, food access and food insecurity, and environmental and food justice movements. Graduate students are encouraged to employ a range of methods and conceptual frameworks, including political economy, intersectionality, commodity chain analysis, social movement frameworks, and cultural approaches. Our approach provides an integrative understanding of social-environmental and food systems, at multiple scales and including public and private spheres.

Course Requirements

  • Contemporary Debates in Food and Environment (SOC 761): This advanced course examines contemporary debates related to food and the environment. It involves intensive examination of contemporary theory and research on selected topics such as environmental movements, technology in food and environment, environmental-agricultural interactions, food and environmental justice, communities and health, sociology of climate change, and commodity chains.
  • Sociology of Food Systems (SOC 762): This course looks at how food systems link larger social structures and production practices with everyday experiences and consumption behaviors. It examines the social relations surrounding the production, distribution, and consumption of food, situating food systems within broader political economies.
  • Environmental Sociology (SOC 763): This course examines how human societies affect the environment, and how human societies are shaped by the environment, as well as how we come to recognize and understand changing environmental conditions.


  • Contact Information: 292 1911 Building; (919) 515-0452;
  • Areas of interest: Food Systems, Globalization/International Political Economy, Sociology of Community, Environmental Sociology, Research Methods, Latin American Studies, European Studies
  • Faculty Profile
  • Contact Information: 326 1911 Building; (919) 515-0446;
  • Areas of interest: Sociology of Food, Sociology of Culture, Consumption, Markets, Organizational Sociology, New Social Movements, Qualitative Research methods, European Studies
  • Faculty Profile
  • Contact Information: 364 1911 Building; (919) 515-2491;
  • Areas of interest: Environmental Sociology, Political Economy, Sociology of Development, Sustainable Development, Globalization, Social Theory, Food Systems
  • Faculty Profile
  • Contact Information: 316 1911 Building;
  • Areas of interest: Environmental Sociology, Social Movements, Environmental Justice, Sociology of Health and Illness, Political Sociology, Inequality
  • Faculty Profile