Examining the Connections between Structural Violence and Food Politics
The primary claim of this analytic paper is that the U.S. government and private food corporations have committed acts of structural violence which have perpetuated declines in Americans’ nutritional status. This paper will show this through analysis of marketing practices, attempts at corporate self-regulation, social responsibility initiatives as well as food corporations’ influence over the political process. According to Paul Farmer, structural violence refers to “historically and economically driven processes [that] conspire to constrain individual agency.” Structural violence specifically denotes systematic characteristics of existing societies that create an unfair disadvantage for certain populations. Drawing on the concept of regulatory capture, the paper demonstrates the strong associations between the structure of relationships that food corporations negotiate with the state and health inequalities related to food policy. The paper concludes by offering recommendations for food policy that are more likely to compress nutrition-related health inequalities than existing policies that perpetuate structural violence.