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Food and Environment

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


Our concentration in Food and Environment concentrates on how social systems and institutions mediate human relations with the natural world. The concentration integrates two distinct but related subfields in sociology: sociology of food systems and environmental sociology. We analyze the relationships among individual actors, organizational and market dynamics, and environmental and social change from local to national to global levels.

Our research focuses on conventional and alternative agricultural systems, sustainable development, producer and consumer activism, culture and politics, the social drivers of environmental degradation and renewal, and issues connected to inequality, food access, and environmental justice.

Graduate students are encouraged to employ a range of conceptual frameworks in analyzing these issues, including political economy, regulation theory, commodity chain analysis, intersectionality, social movement frameworks, and cultural approaches. Our approach provides an integrative understanding of social-environmental systems, at multiple scales, from local to global and including public and private spheres.

Course Requirements

  • Environmental Sociology: 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.
  • Sociology of Food Systems: 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.
  • Contemporary Debates in Food and Environment: 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.


  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Contact Information: 316 1911 Building;
  • Areas of interest: Environmental Sociology, Social Movements, Environmental Justice, Sociology of Health and Illness, Political Sociology, Inequality