The Food Police: The White Possessive Securitization of Winnipeg Food Spaces


  • Merissa Daborn



Grocery shopping is one of the most necessary everyday practices when it comes to being food secure. Food security is frequently spatially imagined along two axes – access and health. I highlight the specific conditions of existence for food insecure citizens in Winnipeg to demonstrate the incommensurability of how food insecurity is imagined and intervened upon, or not, through municipal policy. Drawing on Critical Indigenous Studies scholar Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s theorizations of white possession, I establish a framework of white possessive securitization to interrogate the dynamics between policy, policing, and securitization of space that results in Indigenous people being subjected to multiple modes of policing when grocery shopping. With white possessive securitization, I trace how individual settler citizens operate as self-governing subjects to police Indigenous people in the city while carrying out the aims of white patriarchal sovereignty – to secure private property. I provide three vignettes of the intersections of municipal policy and the policing of food by focussing on municipal budgets, securitization of public-private space, and grocery stores. These vignettes delineate how policing in grocery stores interfere with Indigenous food security and are inseparable from inflated municipal policing budgets, austerity measures that reduce community services, increased surveillance, threats of violence, and the undiscriminating implementation of the rule of law by individual settler citizens who through rationalities of governmentality are the police.