International Sociology and International Sociology Reviews

Topic of the Month, April 2024

‘The Social Value of Health’ is our Topic of the Month for April 2024. On this topic, enjoy Free Access to this article by Carmen Mozo (University of Seville, Spain), Juana Moreno Nieto (University of Cádiz, Spain) and Alicia Reigada (University of Seville, Spain) published in International Sociology, Health as an emerging value in the construction of quality of berries in Huelva (Spain). Read on to know more about the authors’ trajectory and work.

Juana Moreno Nieto

Carmen Mozo

Alicia Reigada

Why are you working on this topic? Could you share an experience, a fact or a person who made you get engage on that research?

J. Moreno: The social relations behind the food we consume is a reality that is not always visible, but is fundamental to understanding the implications of the globalized agri-food system. The agricultural model that allows consumers in the North to have fresh fruit and vegetables all year round is based on the exploitation of vulnerable groups and nature. In this model, migrant women from the Global South occupy a fundamental place. After more than a decade of analyzing migrations and the working and living conditions of women in intensive agriculture in different enclaves (Morocco, Andalusia and France), the question of health and the discomforts derived from this labor activity has always been an issue that has appeared in one way or another, and that we felt was essential to address. In a context in which seals and labels have proliferated to guarantee the quality and safety of the product and, in some cases, its production conditions, in labor and/or environmental terms, it seemed necessary to ask ourselves about the capacity of these seals to induce transformations that protect the health of agricultural seasonal workers.

C. Mozo: My research career has been focused on the implementation of feminist perspectives in the analysis of social reality. During the first part of this trajectory, I applied these perspectives to the analysis of the world of work. Over time, for reasons related to university teaching, among others, I drifted to the field of Health Anthropology. Analyzing the conceptions and practices related to health in intensive agriculture in Huelva, and its (unequal) impact on female agricultural workers, has allowed me to address two important issues. On the one hand, to return to the field in which I began my research, but this time focusing the analysis on the processes of health and disease and their link to the relations of production, in a sector that questions us about the social and environmental sustainability of our models of production and consumption. On the other hand, it allowed me to converge in the field of research with Alicia Reigada, whose doctoral thesis I directed at the end of the 2000s within the framework of the GEISA Research Group of the University of Seville, and who invited me to participate in the project, as well as with Juana Moreno.

A. Reigada: A turning point in my dedication to the study of global agrifood chains was my incorporation, in December 2004, into the Research Group for the Study of Sociocultural Identities in Andalusia (GEISA). Within this group I was able to benefit from the contributions of colleagues who had been studying the rural Andalusia for years when I began my PhD (2005-2009). I also had the opportunity to start working with Carmen Mozo, who guided me in my doctoral thesis and opened the way to feminist perspectives. Since then, I have maintained the objective of analyzing the organization of agricultural work from the approach of materialist feminism, confronting the androcentrism in force in scientific knowledge. Over the years, it has been the interest in exploring the relationship between work and health – a dimension that Carmen Mozo has been studying for years – that has given us the opportunity to research together again in a collective project, along with Juana Moreno, with whom I have been collaborating since my PhD. This article aims to contribute to correcting the secondary place that health analysis continues to occupy in research on global agricultural chains. Another collective project in which I am currently involved continues this objective, and does so in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: “Valuable food, essential workers, vulnerable people, and social responses to crisis: Food provisioning systems during the COVID-19 pandemic” (Ministry of Science and Innovation, P.I. Susana Narotzky).

Do you have any video, recorded conference, or online material that you would like us to share with others?

C. Mozo & A. Reigada:

  • The website of my Research Group (GEISA, Grupo de Investigación para el Estudio de las Identidades Socioculturales en Andalucía / Research Group for the Study of Sociocultural Identities in Andalusia)
  • The website of the Andalusian Association of Anthropology (ASANA):

What would you emphasize about your academic trajectory? Can you highlight which have been your academic positions, universities, awards, departments and research centers please?

J. Moreno: I have a degree in sociology. I did my PhD between IESA (CSIC) and the Department of Social Anthropology of the Autonomous University of Madrid, doing a thesis on the feminization of labor markets in the strawberry exporting area in northwestern Morocco. It was entitled “Work and gender in agri-food globalization: the case of strawberry seasonal workers in Morocco”. During that time, I carried out research stays at the Institute of Social Research of the UNAM, Mexico, and in several centers in Morocco, such as the National School of Agriculture or the Jacques Berque Center. Subsequently, I obtained a postdoctoral contract at the Norbert Elias Center (EHESS-CNRS-AMU) and the LEST (CNRS-AMU), at the Aix-Marseille University, in France, where I continued with a research project on internal migrations and feminization of work – this time in the Chtouka plain, a large fruit and vegetable agro-exporting enclave located in southern Morocco. I also began research on the movement of Latin American seasonal workers from Spain to France. In this context, we analyzed, together with colleagues from LEST, the important role of Spanish Temporary Employment Agencies in the mobilization of foreign labor for agriculture in southeastern France, in the post-crisis economic context. I have recently taken up this research again. Currently, I hold a position of Assistant Professor in the area of Sociology at the University of Cadiz. This has allowed me to resume research in Andalusia, specifically in the strawberry agro-exporting enclave of Huelva. I am a member of the Research Group on Work, Gender and Politics of the University of Cadiz, and of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Sociology (CSIC).

C. Mozo: I am Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Seville and Coordinator of the Master in Anthropology: Management of Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Development at the University of Seville. I graduated in Geography and History, specializing in Social Anthropology from the University of Seville in 1988. I received my PhD in Anthropology in 1995 with a thesis entitled “Sexuation and genderization in the field of insurance”. From that moment on, and within the framework of the GEISA Research Group, I continued my research work applying feminist perspectives to the field of work. From these perspectives, I progressively oriented my research to the field of Health Anthropology. In addition, and since the beginning of the 2000s, I have developed a cooperation project with the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf (Algeria), both in the field of safeguarding and recovery of historical memory and in the field of health.

A. Reigada: Throughout my professional career I have been Research Fellow of the Teaching and Research Staff Training Program - FPDeI (Junta de Andalucía, 2004-2008), Postdoctoral Researcher (Junta de Andalucía, 2010-2011), Assistant Professor (2011-2015), Postdoctoral Researcher (US, 2015-2018). I am currently Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Seville. I defended my PhD, entitled “Las nuevas temporeras de la fresa en Huelva: Flexibilidad productiva, contratación en origen y feminización del trabajo en una agricultura globalizada”, in December 2009. After this study I have participated in different collective research projects, among others: “Social sustainability of the new agricultural productive enclaves: Spain and Mexico” (Ministry of Science and Innovation, P.I. Andrés Pedreño); “Quality governance in global agri-food chains. A comparative analysis of agro-exporting territories in Spain” (Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, P.I. Elena Gadea), “Valuable food, essential workers, vulnerable people, and social responses to crisis: Food provisioning systems during the COVID-19 pandemic” (Ministry of Science and Innovation, P.I. Susana Narotzky). I have enjoyed predoctoral and postdoctoral research stays at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales of the UNAM (Mexico), the University of California-Davis (USA), Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (Mexico), Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (Brazil) and the City University of New York (The Graduate Center). Among my recent publications I would like to highlight the book Historia, trabajo y territorio. El conflicto capital-vida en los campos de fresas de Huelva (2022, Ediciones Universidad de Barcelona).

Do you want to add any other information?

A. Reigada: Since I began my research activity in intensive agriculture two decades ago, I have linked my academic work with the political involvement in the struggles of the countryside in Andalusia, participating and collaborating in the spaces of collective action promoted by different social and trade union organizations: the Sindicato de Obreros del Campo, the Mesa del Temporero, the collective Aliadas por la Soberanía Alimentaria and the Red Estatal por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes (REDI-Sevilla), in the first decade of the present century, and Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha (JhL), in the most recent stage.