The social context of the Chinese food system: an ethnographic study of the Beijing seafood market

Fabinyi, Michael, and Liu, Neng (2016) The social context of the Chinese food system: an ethnographic study of the Beijing seafood market. Sustainability, 8 (3). 244.

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China's role in the global food system has expanded immensely in recent years. In the seafood sector, it is now the largest consumer of seafood products in the world, making the Chinese market highly significant for global fisheries. Drawing on ethnographic- and interview-based research in the largest seafood market in Beijing, this paper analyzes the social context of Chinese consumption and trade. We broadly conceive of this social context as encompassing a range of social norms and practices that include culturally and historically generated consumer preferences, and distinctive forms of governance and business practice. We find that the social context of China is a key driver of patterns of consumption and trade, and provides challenges and opportunities to improve governance for environmental sustainability. We highlight the need for greater policy and academic attention to these characteristics of seafood consumption and trade within China.

Item ID: 48409
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2071-1050
Keywords: Asia; China; seafood; consumption; food system; ethnography
Additional Information:

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Society in Science (SIS), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: SIS Branco Weiss Fellowship, ARC Discovery Grant DP140101055
Date Deposited: 15 May 2017 23:42
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440101 Anthropology of development @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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