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Dr Celia Plender

Lecturer (Anthropology)

Celia is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Anthropology. She completed her PhD in 2019, and is now turning her thesis, entitled Food Co-ops in Austerity Britain: Negotiating Politics Aid and Care, into a book as part of the Fellowship. This engaged with two grassroots, retail food co-ops in London which were born of different eras, exploring the ways in which each food co-op negotiated different visions and values relating to food-based politics, models of aids, practices of care and community building in austerity Britain. Within this context contradictory visions and practices often became intertwined – some more closely aligned with the co-operative ideal of mutual aid, others with less egalitarian models of charitable giving, or individualised practices and values of politics, aid and care. The Fellowship is also enabling her to develop a new project on the everyday politics of food and housing. The research takes an ethnographic approach to how people mobilise and organise around food and housing insecurity, whether as activists or humanitarians; and the structures, practices and ideologies they draw on. In so doing it charts experiences of social, political and economic change in the landscape of COVID-19 in Britain, while exploring the nature of political action.

Celia has taught on on a range of courses at the University of Exeter over the last three years.