The Legal, Sociological and Political Economy of Food

Tractors in a field of crops

The Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI) and the Faculty of Social Sciences

Researchers in the Faculty of Social Sciences are tackling the global challenges related to food and food production. The breadth of expertise in the Faculty mirrors the wide-ranging and interdisciplinary nature of issues associated with food sustainability. As such the research addresses diverse and critical aspects of the legal, sociological and political economy of food.

This work takes place through the Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI), an interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research community which encompasses food and agriculture related research across the University of Leeds. GFEI aims to develop sustainable solutions to transform food systems, bringing together academics from around the entire university.

Professor Fiona Smith is part of the executive team of the GFEI, as Associate Director for AgriFood Supply Chains. She is also N8 Chair in AgriFood Regulation, and has been appointed as a Special Adviser to the House of Commons International Trade Committee.

 Projects and research areas

Oil mining

Dr Joanne Hawkins’ award-winning insight into the role of experts in the context of fracking and public perception.

Find out more about Dr Hawkins’ work >

Sachets of white sugar

Dr Karen Throsby’s work on sugar, in relation to gender, race, class, and the politics of food and its inequalities.

Find out more about Dr Throsby’s work >


Professor Graham Dutfield’s work on intellectual property, relating to the protection of indigenous knowledge of seeds and plants.

Find out more about Prof Dutfield’s work >

Chimneys emitting thick smoke

Dr Colin Mackie’s report on industrial air pollution in Kazakhstan and reforming environmental payments policy guidelines, including guidelines for reform.

Find out more about Dr Mackie’s work >

Agricultural vehicles in a field from above

Professor Michael Cardwell’s work on structuring agri-environmental schemes in ways to combat climate change.

Find out more about Prof Cardwell’s work >

UK food waste bin

Dr Carrie Bradshaw’s insight into the problems with England’s Resources and Waste Strategy regarding food waste.

Find out more about Dr Bradshaw’s work >