Postgraduate Module Descriptor

SOCM045: Food and Sustainability: Economy, Society and Environment

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits30 ECTS Value15
Term(s) and duration

This module will run during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Matt Lobley (Convenor)

Available via distance learning


This module surveys the ways in which food production and consumption is connected to the contemporary crisis of sustainability, as well as ways in which associated problems may be addressed. You will critically examine the technologies of contemporary food production, processing, and retailing. You will focus on the impact of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics on soil, water, biodiversity, food productivity and consumer health; the promises and threats arising from new technologies such as genetic engineering, automation and artificial intelligence; and the causes and effects of waste along the food chain. You will also learn how proponents and practitioners of innovative approaches—from regenerative agriculture to a circular economy approach—draw selectively on knowledge systems, old and new, in attempts to build more sustainable food systems. In the examination of each of these topics, you will look at the social, political, economic, and environmental dimensions of problems and proposed solutions, with a view toward understanding the tensions between these as well as potential synergies.

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