Joshua Sbicca is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University. His research focuses on the sociological drivers and outcomes of contentious food politics, focusing on how social inequalities intersect with the food system and how social movements use food to resist and alter power relations. He is particularly interested in urban food systems, the complexity of food movement organizing, networked coalition development processes, and the tensions inherent in trying to create food system change amidst the urban pressures of mass incarceration, gentrification, racial stratification, and neoliberalization. Underlying these interests is an ongoing engagement with how activists and scholars articulate and practice food justice and what this means for building broad based social movements that strive for structural change.
In short, he studies various intersections between food and agriculture, social inequalities, and social movements. His focus on food is a lens to address a broad range of sociological questions around social change, political economy, urban development, race and class relations, human/nature relations, and power.
His first book, Food Justice Now!: Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle (2018, University of Minnesota Press), combines ethnography, case study, and historical analysis to call for engagement in the struggle against structural inequalities within and beyond the food system. He uses the method of dialectical humanism to investigate food and social justice movements and urban food politics in California to decipher the roots of problems to arrive at possible solutions. In the face of neoliberal food system change strategies, food justice continues to offer the greatest potential to mobilize people against the tide of the post-political. It’s radical goals necessitate expanding the field of conflict and social struggle. With a synthesis of the diverse social movement history of food justice as well as its contemporary expansion into the realms of carceral, labor, and immigration politics, Food Justice Now! reveals new ways to build collective power. Instead of just focusing on food, food justice allows the scholar and political organizer alike to investigate the causes behind inequities, map out the dialectical struggle, and evaluate and undertake confrontational and prefigurative political strategies.
His research has appeared in journals such as Agriculture and Human Values, Antipode, Critical Sociology, Environmental Justice, Environmental Politics, Environmental Sociology, Geoforum, Journal of Rural Studies and Social Movement Studies.
Sbicca, Joshua. 2018. Food Justice Now!: Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Order here.
Sbicca, Joshua. 2017. “Resetting the Good Food Table: Labor and Food Justice Alliances in Los Angeles.” Pp. 107-132 in The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation and Collective Action. Alison Hope Alkon and Julie Guthman (eds). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press
Sbicca, J and J.S. Myers. 2016. “Food Justice Racial Projects: Fighting Racial Neoliberalism from the Bay to the Big Apple.” Environmental Sociology. 3(1): 30-41 Access article.
Sbicca, J. 2016. “These Bars Can’t Hold Us Back: Plowing Incarcerated Geographies with Restorative Food Justice.” Antipode. 48(5): 1359-1379 . Access article
Sbicca, J. 2015. “Solidarity and Sweat Equity: For Reciprocal Food Justice Research.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 5(4): 1-5. Access article
Sbicca, J. 2015. “Farming while confronting the other: The production and maintenance of boundaries in the borderlands.” Journal of Rural Studies. 39: 1-10. Access article
Myers, J.S. and J. Sbicca. 2015. “Bridging good food and good jobs: From secession to confrontation within alternative food movement politics.” Geoforum. 61: 17-26. Access article
Sbicca, J. 2015. “Food Labor, Economic Inequality and the Imperfect Politics of Process in the Alternative Food Movement.” Agriculture and Human Values. 32(4): 675-687. Access article
SOC 105: Social Problems
SOC 324: Food Justice
SOC 364: Agriculture and Global Society
SOC 474: Social Movements and Collective Behavior
SOC 562: Sociology of Food Systems and Agriculture