Joshua Sbicca is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University. His research focuses on the sociological drivers and outcomes of contentious food politics, focusing on how social inequalities intersect with the food system and how social movements use food to resist and alter power relations. He is particularly interested in urban food systems, the complexity of food movement organizing, networked coalition development processes, and the tensions inherent in trying to create food system change amidst the urban pressures of mass incarceration, gentrification, racial stratification, and neoliberalization. Underlying these interests is an ongoing engagement with how activists and scholars articulate and practice food justice and what this means for building broad based social movements that strive for structural change.
His focus on food is a lens to address a broad range of sociological questions around social change, political economy, urban development, race and class relations, human/nature relations, and power.
He has a forthcoming edited volume with Alison Alkon and Yuki Kato called A Recipe for Gentrification: Food, Power, and Resistance in the City (New York University Press). The book argues that food and gentrification are deeply entangled, and that examining food retail and alternative food practices is critical to understanding urban development. Through a series of case studies, from super-gentrifying cities like New York, to oft neglected places like Oklahoma City, the authors show that while gentrification always has its own local flavor, there are many commonalities. This comparative approach highlights how food retail and foodscapes contribute to gentrification, how food itself becomes gentrified, and how activists see food as a site for resistance.
His first book, Food Justice Now!: Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle (2018, University of Minnesota Press), charts a path from food activism to social justice activism that integrates the two. The book argues that food justice is more than just a myopic focus on food, allowing scholars and activists alike to investigate the causes behind inequities and evaluate and implement political strategies to overcome them. Focusing on carceral, labor, and immigration crises, Food Justice Now! tells the stories of three California-based food movement organizations, showing that when activists use food to confront neoliberal capitalism and institutional racism, they can creatively expand how to practice and achieve food justice.
His research has appeared in journals such as Agriculture and Human Values, Antipode, Critical Sociology, Environmental Justice, Environmental Politics, Environmental Sociology, Geoforum, Journal of Rural Studies and Social Movement Studies.
Sbicca, Joshua, India Luxton, James Hale, and Kassandra Roeser. 2019. “Collaborative Concession in Food Movement Networks: The Uneven Relations of Resource Mobilization.” Sustainability. 11(10): 2881.
Shisler, Rebecca and Joshua Sbicca. 2019. “Agriculture as Carework: The Contradictions of Performing Femininity in a Male-Dominated Occupation.” Society and Natural Resources. 32(8): 875-892.
Sbicca, Joshua. 2019. “Urban Agriculture, Revalorization, and Green Gentrification in Denver, Colorado.” Research in Political Sociology. 26: 143-164
Sbicca, Joshua. 2018. Food Justice Now!: Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Order here.
Sbicca, Joshua. 2017. “Resetting the Good Food Table: Labor and Food Justice Alliances in Los Angeles.” Pp. 107-132 in The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation and Collective Action. Alison Hope Alkon and Julie Guthman (eds). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press
Sbicca, J and J.S. Myers. 2016. “Food Justice Racial Projects: Fighting Racial Neoliberalism from the Bay to the Big Apple.” Environmental Sociology. 3(1): 30-41 Access article.
Sbicca, J. 2016. “These Bars Can’t Hold Us Back: Plowing Incarcerated Geographies with Restorative Food Justice.” Antipode. 48(5): 1359-1379 . Access article
Sbicca, J. 2015. “Solidarity and Sweat Equity: For Reciprocal Food Justice Research.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 5(4): 1-5. Access article
Sbicca, J. 2015. “Farming while confronting the other: The production and maintenance of boundaries in the borderlands.” Journal of Rural Studies. 39: 1-10. Access article
Myers, J.S. and J. Sbicca. 2015. “Bridging good food and good jobs: From secession to confrontation within alternative food movement politics.” Geoforum. 61: 17-26. Access article
Sbicca, J. 2015. “Food Labor, Economic Inequality and the Imperfect Politics of Process in the Alternative Food Movement.” Agriculture and Human Values. 32(4): 675-687. Access article
SOC 105: Social Problems
SOC 324: Food Justice
SOC 364: Agriculture and Global Society
SOC 474: Social Movements and Collective Behavior
SOC 562: Sociology of Food Systems and Agriculture