Back to the Future

By: Ruth Barcan  

The last ten years have witnessed the resurgence of small-scale domestic chicken-keeping in many cities around the world as part of a broader rise in urban agriculture. This paper draws on qualitative interviews with domestic chicken-keepers carried out in Sydney in 2014-17 to explore the possibility that this revival might signal something more than just “a pervasive nostalgia for earlier modes of living” (Hamilton 2014: 124). Springboarding off the concept of “practice memory” elaborated by Cecily Maller and Yolande Strengers (2015), it canvasses eight aspects of suburban chicken-keeping that arose from the interviews, using these themes as a means both of understanding chicken-keeping more richly and as the basis for gesturing towards a possible theoretical understanding of elements of social practice that might help make them revivable and durable.

"Chicken-keeping", " Urban Agriculture"
Food Policies, Politics, and Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Ruth Barcan

-, -, University of Sydney, Australia
-, Australia

Associate Professor Ruth Barcan is the author of Academic Life and Labour in the New University: Hope and Other Choices (Ashgate, Dec. 2013); Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Bodies, Therapies, Senses (Berg, 2011), Nudity: A Cultural Anatomy (Berg 2004), and the co-editor of Imagining Australian Space: Cultural Studies and Spatial Inquiry (UWA Press 1999) and Planet Diana: Cultural Studies and Global Mourning (Research Centre in Intercommunal Studies, UWS Nepean, 1997). Her research and teaching is currently in the area of consumerism, sustainability and everyday life and she is currently researching the revival of domestic chicken-keeping in Sydney.