Modern Hungers in Modern Germany
This chapter uses changes in international perceptions of the German body over the course of the twentieth century—from starving victims of the First World War to the “fattest people in Europe” by the end of the century—as a way of thinking about the key themes of this book. It describes the book’s methodology, which builds on Foucault’s theory of governmentality to describe the ways in which modern states rely on the food system to control populations’ bodies. It thus shows how food opens up the category of biopolitics. At the same time, food represents crucial strategies of resistance and self-expression for individuals and communities, thus pushing at the limits of state power. This chapter also discusses the ways in which hunger is an important political category for industrialized economies.
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