Understanding the Nourishment of Bodies at the Centre of Food and Health Systems – Systemic, Bodily and New Materialist Perspectives on Nutritional Inequity
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That nutritional inequalities continue to proliferate at a global level requires new insight from all disciplines, given their formation at the intersection of broader inequities in food, health and other systems. This paper argues that critical social scientific perspectives are needed to supplement public health and food focused approaches, which, while helpful, tend to reduce research and intervention to remedial action on malnourished bodies or on food production. A number of alternative perspectives draw on work on both bodies and on systems which are reviewed here. Because both the causes and the impacts of poor nutrition are simultaneously embodied and systemic, our understanding is weakened without considering both sets of literature simultaneously. New-materialist, assemblage or posthuman approaches represent an evolution of these literatures which can reflect on dissolving socio-natural boundaries within contemporary (nutritional) science, whilst retaining a critical edge. Together, the various approaches within this paper help consider the conditions of everyday existence for those living with malnutrition and the range of bodily and systemic factors which assemble their condition.