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Autonomy and the politics of food choice: from individuals to communities

By T. Chackal

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Individuals use their capacity for autonomy to express preferences regarding food choices. Food choices are fundamental, universal, and reflect a diversity of interests and cultural preferences. Traditionally, autonomy is cast in only epistemic terms, and the social and political dimension of it, where autonomy obstruction tends to arise, is omitted. This reflects problematic limits in the Cartesian notion of the individual. Because this notion ignores context and embodiment, the external and internal constraints on autonomy that extend from social location are not considered. Therefore, reconceptions of the individual and autonomy which emphasize social location and relational interdependency are needed. To combat autonomy obstruction, individuals can appeal to community and community autonomy as a social mechanism. Communities are social groups characterized by people living in places with shared goals. Recognizing their interdependency, individuals can organize as communities in order to accomplish objectives that they cannot on their own. While community autonomy is valuable unto itself, it can also enhance individual autonomy.

Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 29
Issue 2
Pages 123-141
ISBN/ISSN 0893-4282
Language English
Author Address Philosophy Department, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Arid regions
  3. Food preferences
  4. Humans
  5. Knowledge
  6. Mammals
  7. Men
  8. peer-reviewed
  9. Primates
  10. sociology
  11. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed