2017 Mary Douglas Memorial Lecture

Pat Caplan

Professor Pat Caplan,
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology
Goldsmiths, University of London

On 24 May the 2017 Mary Douglas Memorial Lecture, will be held in the Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre at St Anne's College (56 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6H). The lecture will begin at 6pm.

This year, the lecture will be given by Professor Pat Caplan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. The title of the lecture is, 'Gifts, Entitlement, Benefits, and Surplus: Food Poverty and Food Aid in the UK'.

The Mary Douglas Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University College London's Anthropology Department, the Royal Anthropological Institute, and St Anne's College, of which Mary Douglas was an alumna.

To register for this event, please RSVP to stacey.richardson@insis.ox.ac.uk


Presentation Absrtact
What constitutes the good society? Is it one in which the state takes primary responsibility for the welfare of its citizens, or one in which the duty of care is handed over largely to the private and/or third or voluntary sectors? How can anthropologists contribute to the debates surrounding such questions? In this lecture I will examine the case of food poverty in the UK and the solutions presently on offer. As Douglas noted, food is never just feed, and in order to comprehend some aspects of the contemporary situation we must attempt to grasp how a range of institutions such as food banks, the food industry and the state ‘think’ about food poverty, what they do about it and why, and how these actors are inter-related.