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2017/Eating in the city: urban food styles in Africa, Latin America and Asia

International symposium organized by the UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems (Montpellier SupAgro and CIRAD), UMR Moisa (CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, CIHEAM-IAM), OCHA (CNIEL) and the Edgar Morin Center of the Interdisciplinary Institute of Contemporary Anthropology (IIAC).

Paris, OCHA, 4 & 5 December 2017

The first two days of the "Eating in the city" symposium, open to a registered scientific audience, discussed the results of field surveys in African, Asian and Latin American cities conducted by socio-anthropologists from these cities who had responded to a call for papers. The creation of a worldwide network of such researchers is one objective of the UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems and is supported by Danone Nutricia Research and Agropolis Fondation, partners of this event.

In 15 years, cities in Africa, Latin America and Asia will represent almost half of the world’s population and more than 80% of the urban population. What will they eat? Will their diets have converged on a "western" model after a "nutrition transition" to include more animal products, fats, sugars, and processed foods that favour obesity and other diseases? Will local products have disappeared or will they be standardized as a result of industrialization and the transformation and development of supermarkets?

Socio-anthropological approaches implemented at fine scales of observation, focused not only on consumption but also practices and representations, often lead to more nuanced visions which reveal the appropriation, diversion, invention capacities of urban societies subject to outside influences. They reveal tensions and reactions that lead to a recognition of the plurality of paths to dietary change.