Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Political Science

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Nicholas Xenos

Second Advisor

Roberto Alejandro

Third Advisor

Jonathan Wynn

Subject Categories

Food Studies | Political Theory | Urban Studies and Planning


Through a case study of how provisioning of Istanbul has changed since the 19th century (late Ottoman Period), this dissertation unravels the ways in which food, bodies and biological processes have become objects of intervention for the modern nation-state and more contemporarily, for neoliberal governmentality. Chapters 1, 3 and 5 focus on urban provisioning models (urban provisioning, codependent provisioning, urban food supply chain respectively). Chapters 2, 4 and 6 analyze various economic dynamics, practices, tools, strategies, and mentalité deployed by different provisioning actors, and expose different conceptualizations of sovereignty embedded in each provisioning model (embodied, rationed, precarious respectively). Conclusion brings the discussion to a close by tracing certain themes that run through three conceptualizations of sovereignty. First, sovereignty is not necessarily a territorial relation, although it does rely on territorial mechanisms and other relations to function. Second, the present opposition between urban and rural is based on their conceptualization as territorial resources and is a product of a distinctive mentalité. While the current conceptualization of sovereignty may utilize, or even depend on, this mentalité to make certain populations live, or to let them die, such an approach is not endemic to all conceptualizations of sovereignty. Finally, the relationship between the ruler and the ruled is ultimately a bodily relation. While how this ‘bodily’ element is constructed may differ depending on the constellation of discourses, mechanisms and technologies deployed, the apparatus still works by intervening in, shaping, modifying bodies. Therefore, beginning with classical theories of sovereignty, this bodily component should be reintroduced to discussions of sovereignty.