Race, Ethnicity, and Traditional Food Markets: Toward A Multi-Dimensional Food Security

Thu, November 7, 2019 11:00 AM - Thu, November 7, 2019 1:00 PM at 457 Berkey Hall

Hui (Chloe) Qian, PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology is presenting her dissertation defense. Committee members are chair Sandy Marquart-Pyatt, Steve Gold, Stephanie Nawyn and Philip Howard (CSUS).

Food insecurity has received considerable attention from academics and policy makers alike for its negative health, economic, social and environmental consequences. Sociologists concerned with social justice have particularly noted the unequal distribution of food insecurity across groups, as it serves as a powerful manifestation of existing discrimination and inequality in current food systems. With the majority of scholarship focusing on the economic contributors of food insecurity, our current knowledge of the non-economic factors that affect food security is limited and incomplete. To address this gap, this dissertation examines across-group food security heterogeneity from the perspective of race and ethnicity, whose significance to minority populations’ achievement of food security is often overlooked. In the first chapter, a meta-analysis of major local and national food security programs in the United States acquaints readers with existing efforts to reduce domestic food insecurity and identifies key areas for improvement. The second chapter builds on the findings from the first paper by investigating the ways through which access to traditional food markets impacts racial and ethnic minority populations’ food security in a case study in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. The third chapter analyzes the barriers and challenges of traditional food markets from the same case study, based on which theoretical and empirical suggestions for food security improvement are offered. By making clear the positive role of traditional food markets in racial and ethnic minority groups’ achievement of food security, this dissertation advances our understanding of food security as a multidimensional issue. It also contributes to multiple literatures, primarily food security, food and nutrition assistance, traditional food markets, immigrant entrepreneurship and supermarket concentration.


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