The politics of hunger

Protest, poverty and policy in England, c. 1750–c. 1840

By Carl J. Griffin

The politics of hunger


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4562-8
  • Pages: 280
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: January 2020
  • BIC Category: Modern History, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Social History, Poverty & Unemployment, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Social & cultural history


The 1840s witnessed widespread hunger and malnutrition at home and mass starvation in Ireland. And yet the aptly named 'Hungry 40s' came amidst claims that, notwithstanding Malthusian prophecies, absolute biological want had been eliminated in England. The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were supposedly the period in which the threat of famine lifted for the peoples of England. But hunger remained, in the words of Marx, an 'unremitted pressure'. The politics of hunger offers the first systematic analysis of the ways in which hunger continued to be experienced and feared, both as a lived and constant spectral presence. It also examines how hunger was increasingly used as a disciplining device in new modes of governing the population. Drawing upon a rich archive, this innovative and conceptually-sophisticated study throws new light on how hunger persisted as a political and biological force.


Introduction: 'the unremitted pressure': on hunger politics
Part I: Protesting hunger
1 Food riots and the languages of hunger
2The persistence of the discourse of starvation in the protests of the poor
Part II: Hunger policies
3 Measuring need: Speenhamland, hunger and universal pauperism
4 Dietaries and the less eligibility workhouse: or, the making of the poor as biological subjects
Part III: Theorising hunger
5 The biopolitics of hunger: Malthus, Hodge and the racialisation of the poor
6 Telling the hunger of 'distant' others


Carl J. Griffin is Professor in Historical Geography at the University of Sussex

Sign up to our newsletter
and receive 30% off all future book orders

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout