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International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Published by Michigan State University

Official publication of the Research Committee on Sociology of Agriculture and Food (RC-40)
of the International Sociological Association (ISA)

Editors: Raymond Jussaume, Claire Marris and Katerina Psarikidou

Frequency: 3 issues per year 
ISSN: 0798-1759

Volume 25, Issue 2 (2019)

In-between Anxiety and Hope: Trusting an Alternative Among ‘Alternatives’

in the (Post) Organic Food Market in Turkey                                                                                                                 173-190

Authors: Îrem Soysal Al and Bermal Küçük

Affiliations: Graduate School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of Sociology, Koç University, Turkey

Abstract            PDF

 

This paper argues that in Turkey there are plural alternatives within the alternative food channels and even in the recently emerging post-organic movement, by offering comparative cases from largely ignored international literature on alternative food initiatives. It examines a growing consumer food cooperative, a popular natural food store, and a well-known organic farmers’ market in Turkey, which together are considered the most prominent alternative food channels in İstanbul by varying consumer segments. It interrogates the hows and whys of what becomes a reliable alternative and for whom in this recent complexity. This research is based on thirty in-depth interviews with the consumers and producers of İpek Hanım’s Farm, Feriköy Organic Farmers’ Market, and Kadıköy Cooperative. It reveals that food anxiety, trust, and hope appear as crucial dynamics of alternative relationships in the organic and post-organic food market in Turkey. These affects are visibly influenced by the social, cultural, and economic capital of consumers and interlinked with the meanings consumers attribute to their food practices. These meanings are dynamically (re)constructed through certain trust-building strategies and discourses of the ‘alternative’ which are presented by various actors (producers, marketers, cooperatives) and the ways consumers negotiate them. This study also suggests that consumers’ varying forms of food anxiety and relationship to each alternative have different repercussions in terms of social and political visions about alternative food initiatives. The major difference is derived from whether they prioritize their bodily health with the mentality of ‘neoliberal governmentality’ or share some political ambitions and hope for transforming collectively the current agri-food system.