Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Anna Secor

Abstract

In this thesis, I consider the emergence of a new generation of food trucks and question their popularity, narration and representation. I examine the economic and cultural discourses that have valorized these food trucks, and pay attention to the everyday material and embodied practices that constitute them. This research is situated in Chicago, where proposed changes to the existing mobile food vending ordinance spurred contentious debates about food safety, regulations, rights to the city and livelihoods. I follow the myriad actors involved in the food truck movement to understand the strategies employed to change the mobile food vending ordinance on behalf of these food trucks. As part of this, I raise questions about what interests are prioritized, and what interests are marginalized especially in light of Chicago’s long history of policing Latino street vendors. I conclude by considering what food trucks can elucidate about the city, the changing economy, and the molding of laboring and consuming subjects.

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