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Food Anxiety in Globalising Vietnam

Editors: Ehlert, Judith, Faltmann, Nora Katharina (Eds.)

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  • Offers a complex and multi-layered perspective on anxiety that uniquely aims to move away from the Global North/Global South dichotomy as a framework for explaining the social nature of contemporary food anxieties in terms of starvation and glut
  • Written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the book will appeal to academics and students alike in fields ranging from (food) sociology and anthropology to area and development studies to the political and cultural sciences
  • Diverse contributions which will equip students with a thorough understanding of the variety of phenomena that can be examined through the prism of food research, and a methodological portfolio as to how such research can be carried out
  • Strong grounding in empirical research ensures the book is topical, relevant and scientifically rigorous
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  • ISBN 978-981-13-0743-0
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on
Hardcover $59.99
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About this book

This open access book approaches the anxieties inherent in food consumption and production in Vietnam. The country’s rapid and recent economic integration into global agro-food systems and consumer markets spurred a new quality of food safety concerns, health issues and distrust in food distribution networks that have become increasingly obscured. This edited volume further puts the eating body centre stage by following how gendered body norms, food taboos, power structures and social differentiation shape people’s ambivalent relations with food. It uncovers Vietnam’s trajectories of agricultural modernisation against which consumers and producers manoeuvre amongst food self-sufficiency, security and abundance.
Food Anxiety in Globalising Vietnam is explicitly about ‘dangerous’ food – regarding its materiality and meaning. It provides social science perspectives on anxieties related to food and surrounding discourses that travel between the local and the global, the individual and society and into the body. Therefore, the book’s lens of food anxiety matters for social theory and for understanding the embeddedness and discontinuities of food globalizations in Vietnam and beyond. Due to its rich empirical base, methodological approaches and thematic foci, it will appeal to scholars, practitioners and students alike.

About the authors

Judith Ehlert is a sociologist and holds a postdoctoral position at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria.
Nora Katharina Faltmann is a PhD candidate in Development Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria.


“This thought-provoking collection of essays uses “food anxiety” as a lens through which to re-examine the relation between individuals and society. Offering nuanced discussions of contrasting facets of food ambiguity in today’s globalising Vietnam, it provides a refreshingly astringent, long overdue, antidote to food studies’ tendency to romanticise the pleasures of eating.” (Professor Anne Murcott, Honorary Professorial Research Associate, Food Studies Centre, SOAS, University of London, UK)

“Anyone interested in the identities and politics of food will treasure this well-organized volume which is a captivating read on the symbolic and physical boundaries of food. It provides an avenue to understand the complexities of food in regard to ubiquitous issues such as gender, body-politics, class, inequality, agricultural production, environment, and food security. In bringing together pieces of various disciplines, the book sheds new light on colonial (xenophobic) food distinctions; the feminisation and masculinisation of food; food pollution and the compromise of food safety; and the ways food consumption in today’s Vietnam resonates with global consumer concerns about organic products and a healthy (urban middle-class) lifestyle. With this new volume, readers are introduced to an appetizing, rich smorgasbord that offers food for thought about the socio-political and economic anxieties saturating food production and consumption in Vietnamese society, and beyond.” (Professor Helle Rydstrøm, Lund University, Sweden)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Table of contents (10 chapters)
  • Food Anxiety: Ambivalences Around Body and Identity, Food Safety, and Security

    Pages 1-40

    Ehlert, Judith (et al.)

  • Power Struggles and Social Positioning: Culinary Appropriation and Anxiety in Colonial Vietnam

    Pages 43-76

    Peters, Erica J.

  • Forbidden from the Heart: Flexible Food Taboos, Ambiguous Culinary Transgressions, and Cultural Intimacy in Hoi An, Vietnam

    Pages 77-103

    Avieli, Nir

  • Obesity, Biopower, and Embodiment of Caring: Foodwork and Maternal Ambivalences in Ho Chi Minh City

    Pages 105-136

    Ehlert, Judith

  • Trust and Food Modernity in Vietnam

    Pages 139-165

    Figuié, Muriel (et al.)

Buy this book

  • ISBN 978-981-13-0743-0
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA in USD

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Food Anxiety in Globalising Vietnam
  • Judith Ehlert
  • Nora Katharina Faltmann
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
Hardcover ISBN
Edition Number
Number of Pages
XIX, 320
Number of Illustrations
11 b/w illustrations