Geographies of food beyond food: transfiguring nexus-thinking through encounters with young people in Brazil

Cristiana Zara*, Ben Coles, Sophie Hadfield-Hill, John Horton, Peter Kraftl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


Engaging contemporary forms of nexus-thinking with interdisciplinary food scholarship and childhood and youth studies, this paper explores the social, cultural and political implications of young people’s entangled connections with – and beyond – food. The paper draws on a large-scale research project investigating young Brazilians’ relationships with and understandings of the water-energy-food nexus. Based upon ethnographic, mixed-methods research, we attend to young people’s everyday, material experiences of water-energy-food, and call for a transfigured nexus-thinking, alive with the lives, cares, relationalities and politics at the heart of ‘the nexus’. Through examples ranging from participants’ routines, rhythms and mobilities to experiences of food insecurity, we show how young people express a range of social-political sensibilities that articulate with food and expand nexus-thinking in several interconnected ways. First, by exposing the multi-scalar and multi-temporal processes underlying their everyday ‘nexuses’. Second, by destabilizing the water-energy-food nexus to include ever-new elements emerging from lived experiences of resource access. Third, by showing the embeddedness of resources in the cultures, politics and social fabric of communities. Fourth by uncovering the workings of social difference in articulating nexus dis/connections. It is through these encounters with youths in Brazil that we propose a (re)politicisation and critical transfiguration of nexus thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-738
Number of pages24
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number5
Early online date27 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC grant reference: ES/K00932X/1), and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP process 15/50226-0). In addition, we would like to thank all the young people who contributed to the research, sharing their experiences, knowledge and ideas on the nexus in Brazil.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Brazil
  • Geographies of food
  • childhood and youth studies
  • nexus-thinking
  • water-energy-food nexus
  • young people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies


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