Kerstin Poehls

Material and moral

The commodity and consumer good sugar


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Sugar is more than just sugar; sugar materializes social, cultural and economic negotiation processes of knowledge, which are about historically grown and conflictual post-colonial interweavings. Based on my ongoing research, this text aims to contribute to the discussion about the empirical basis of an ethnography of the political and methodological ways it can come about. I assume, hypothetically, that a link exists between small-scale individual acts of consumption and politically responsible economic structures. The ethnographic view of sugar reveals the effective political regulations that are seemingly abstract. And yet, they affect its everyday presence in individual consumption practices and its moral evaluation. Its color characteristics, especially, have a strong influence on its uses and perceptions.

ethnography of the political, Europe, postcolonialism, sugar, material, materiality, color, consumption, international trade, food