The 2nd Biennial Conference on

FOOD & COMMUNICATION

Discourses on the future of food

Ljubljana, 15 – 17 September 2021 (remotely)

Every two years, the Biennial Conference on Food and Communication brings together scholars that work on the intersection of food and communication. The first conference was held in Edinburgh, UK, 6-7 September 2018. The second conference will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 15-17 September 2021.

 

Registration open.

Discourses on the Future of Food

 

Every two years, the Biennial Conference on Food and Communication brings together scholars that work on the intersection of food and communication. The first conference was held in Edinburgh, UK, 6-7 September 2018. The second conference will be held remotely, 15-17 September 2021.

Food is a key means through which we construct and represent ourselves discursively.
Food features as a powerful cultural signifier, often evoking associations with issues of
gender, class, race and identity. Food-related activities, such as grocery shopping, meal
preparation and eating, along with the public and private spaces in which these activities occur, provide the basis for many of our complex daily communicative practices. Food also is located at the core of many of the most challenging social issues of our time, often manifested in oppressive relations of inequality, and in the placement of food at the center of calls for social justice.

 

“We are witness to major changes in how the relationships between food systems and consumers are constructed discursively.”

 

Not surprisingly, food has been an important focus of research across the humanities and social sciences, from history to sociology, cultural studies, political studies and beyond. This conference extends that focus by providing an international platform that foregrounds the role of communication in the production, distribution and consumption of food. The aim of the conference is to address discourses, texts and communication evolving in relation to both widespread dissatisfaction with existing food systems and to visions for a more sustainable and regenerative future of food.

The conference will explore the cultural and discursive construction of food. This will include analyses of political and policy texts on food sovereignty, food security, food safety and nutrition, food waste, sustainability and climate change; texts produced by the food industry, including advertising, packaging, labeling, menus, social media and other means of food marketing; consumer and media narratives on “the pleasures of the table”; and texts promoting gastronomic tourism, to name just a few.

Today, cumulative food-related crises and controversies have become central to ongoing
attempts to address the health of the global population and the planet. As a result, we are witness to major changes in how the relationships between food systems and consumers are constructed discursively.

 

“In response to these issues, the conference will explore narratives about the emergence of alternative solutions to, and new imaginaries about, the future of food.”

 

1

Food as cultural signifier / text / medium, including food as:

  • Expression of cultural identity
  • Cultural capital
  • Object of commodity activism
  • Expression of cultural appropriateness
  • Expressions and critiques of cultural appropriation
  • Basis of ritual and community bonding

2

Representations of food, including:

  • Journalistic and documentary coverage of the food and agricultural industries
  • Food as the focus of entertainment media (narrative cinema, reality TV, celebrity programs, etc.)
  • Food in social media
  • Commercial communication about food (advertising, PR, lobbying, industry narratives)
  • Political discourses (e.g., food safety, sovereignty, security; sustainability; regenerative agriculture; access to food; food deserts; animal welfare; etc.)
  • Scientific and technical communication

3

Public knowledge (and lack of knowledge) about food, including:

  • Food literacy (health, nutrition, safety and risk, etc.)
  • Environmental impacts (e.g., waste, pollution, climate change)
  • Cultural origins, history, appropriation

4

The mediation of food activism:

  • Communication for direct action (protest, demonstration, petition, boycott, etc.)
  • Commodity activism (through promotion strategies and consumer choices)

5

Imaginaries about the future of food, including:

  • New sources (e.g., insects, algae, in vitro meat)
  • Genetic engineering of plants and animals
  • Hydroponics
  • Aquaculture
  • Transparency, traceability, blockchain, etc.
  • Food during and after COVID-19
  • Visions of alternative cultural, political and economic futures of food production,
    distribution and consumption

 

The final program is published here.

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