Steffen's primary interest is food studies, mainly in the fields of sociology and human geography. In particular, he focuses on the relations that constitute discourses and practices with regard to food, sustainability and associated responsibilities.
Before becoming a PhD candidate in Sociology, Steffen graduated in Economic and Social Geography at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, where he also completed minor degrees in Social Anthropology and Media and Communication Studies.
After graduation, Steffen worked as a freelance collaborator at the Institute for Alternative and Sustainable Nutrition (IFANE.org) in Gießen.
His interest in food arose from an internship at the Weltladen-Dachverband, the association that represents German fairtrade shops, where he supported a campaign for global food security.
Relational geographies of food as areas of conflict between private affairs and political issues: spatial and social localisations of responsibility in ‘sustainable’ food discourses and practices.
Steffen's research project develops upon his degree dissertation, which is focussed on patterns of naturalisation of the dairy industry and its romanticising depictions of landscapes in advertisments.
As a result, he is especially concerned with processes in which (non)sustainable practices are problematised or normalised.
Steffen's current project is therefore about values and norms of "good" food practices from the perspective of different agents. It aims to analyse both the implicit social and ecological values of sustainability policies in the discourses of companies and the eating practices on the part of consumers. An analysis of spatial and social localisations of responsibility will reveal (dis)connections between producers and consumers.
- Hirth, Steffen (2015): Umwandlungsverluste in der Tierproduktion und globale Ernährungssicherheit. In: Strüver, Anke (ed.). Geographien der Ernährung - Zwischen Nachhaltigkeit, Unsicherheit und Verantwortung. Hamburg: Institut für Geographie der Universität Hamburg (= Hamburger Symposium Geographie), 31–49.
- Several blog posts on www.geozentrale.com