Food and Environment

A Graduate Area Specialization in NC State University‚Äôs 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.

  • 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.


Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
1911 Building, Room 362 (919) 515-0452,
Areas of interest: Food Systems, Globalization/International Political Economy, Sociology of Community, Environmental Sociology, Research Methods, Latin American Studies, European Studies  

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Northwestern University
1911 Building, Room 326 (919) 515-0446
Areas of interest: Sociology of Food, Sociology of Culture, Consumption, Markets, Organizational Sociology, New Social Movements, Qualitative Research methods, European Studies

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Oregon
1911 Bldg. Room 364, (919) 515-2491 
Areas of interest: Environmental Sociology, Political Economy, Sociology of Development, Sustainable Development, Globablization, Social Theory, Food Systems  

Ph.D., University of Tennessee
1911 Building, Room 316
Areas of interest: Environmental Sociology, Social Movements, Environmental Justice, Sociology of Health and Illness, Political Sociology, Inequality