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Visceral Encounters: A Political Ecology of Urban Land, Food, and Housing in Dubuque, Iowa

1
Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
2
Washington Neighborhood Community Garden, Dubuque, IA 52001, USA
3
Dubuque Community Activist, Dubuque, IA 52001, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040122
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Abstract

Through a praxis of co-authorship between a university scholar and two community gardeners/organizers/activists, this article showcases the ways in which knowledge, practices, and relationalities emergent in community gardens in Dubuque, Iowa USA directly engage with the politics of food, land, and housing. The authors engage in co-authorship across university and community boundaries to ontologically reframe knowledge production and draw critical attention to the everyday livelihoods and political ecologies experienced within marginalized communities. We use extended conversations and interviews to analyze the food, land, and housing issues that emerge in the context of uneven racial relations and neighborhood revitalization. We then organize our analysis using a Political Ecology of the Body (PEB) framework to consider how people’s bodily, emotional, and social lives impact their relationalities with food, gardening, and neighborhood spaces. Our findings show that community gardening efforts are transforming the Washington and North End neighborhoods—even if these changes appear to outsiders to be small-scale or difficult to measure—while also calling attention to the anti-oppression and anti-racism work that remains to be done. Our co-authorship demonstrates how community gardeners and university partners can work together to contest histories of marginalization and foster more socially just relations. View Full-Text
Keywords: community gardens; feminist methodology; co-authorship; political ecology of the body; food insecurity; racism; land politics; affordable housing; neighborhood revitalization; gentrification community gardens; feminist methodology; co-authorship; political ecology of the body; food insecurity; racism; land politics; affordable housing; neighborhood revitalization; gentrification
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Chennault, C.; Klavitter, L.; Sutton, L. Visceral Encounters: A Political Ecology of Urban Land, Food, and Housing in Dubuque, Iowa. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 122.

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