Anneke Boersma

Health, Sustainability and the Dietary Shift in India and The Netherlands

Athena Institute, Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,

Supervisors: T. Zuiderent-Jerak, E. de Hoop


M.Sc in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science, Lund University (SE). It is an international and interdisciplinary master program, in which students are taught to have a holistic and interdisciplinary approach complex sustainability challenges. Elective courses included Sustainability and Global Health, Sustainability and Popular Culture, Sustainability and Inner Transformation, and Gender and Sustainability in Theory and Everyday Life. The thesis included a theoretical approach to NGOs strategies to create social change, for which interviews were performed and thematic analysis has been applied.

Summary PhD project

This PhD project investigates what the idea of the dietary shift (a shift towards a diet in which 80% of the protein is plant based and 20% animal-based) comes to be in different food consumption settings in India and in the Netherlands. It researches the transformations it might initiate within the healthcare system and the agricultural system.
The aim is to contribute towards developing and promoting the idea of this dietary shift in an equitable, inclusive manner. This will be done through the following questions: What kinds of dietary adjustments would (not) be necessary? What does this imply for the different systems that are entangled with dietary practices (health, food and agriculture)? How does this shift resonate with, ignore or clash with existing discourses, values and practices? How could (and is) this shift promoted? Who benefits and who gets disadvantaged through (the promotion of) this shift, according to which form of knowledge production?
The methodology has yet to be decided and depends on further fine-tuning, but will likely include interviews, action research, ethnography, and document and historical analysis.