The University of Arizona

The biopolitics of 'food insecurity': towards a critical political ecology of the body in studies of women's transnational migration

Megan A. Carney


In this article, I utilize a political ecology of the body (PEB) approach to analyze women's transnational migration and their experiences with 'food insecurity.' I situate this analysis within a tradition of feminist political ecology, seeking to advance a 'postcolonial intersectionality' that is attentive to gender, race, and class as axes of power and difference, and also to markers of citizenship or lack thereof, including 'illegality.' I argue that the ideologies behind these axes of power obscure the very social processes in which power is constituted, those that allow an unevenness to ecological suffering, specifically at the locus of the migrant women's body. I suggest that by applying a PEB framing to analyze the personally necessary activities of eating and feeding, we are able to elucidate material and health disparities characterizing transborder ecologies. Thus, I delineate the biopolitics of 'food insecurity': a contest over nutritional resources in which migrant bodies are subjected to the disciplining techniques of neoliberal capitalism, as migrants also subvert the conditions of this environment through embodied modes of collective resistance.

Keywords: political ecology of the body, feminist political ecology, intersectionality, illegal migration, food insecurity, biopolitics

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