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.
Scholars are invited to explore the cultural and discursive construction of food. This may include analyses of political and policy texts on food sovereignty, and 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, scholars are welcome to explore narratives about the emergence of alternative solutions to, and new imaginaries about, the future of food.”
Food as cultural signifier / text / medium, including food as:
- Expression of cultural identity
- Cultural capital
- Object of commodity activism
- Expression of cultural appropriateness
- Expression of cultural appropriation
- Basis of ritual and community bonding
Representations of food, including:
- Journalistic and documentary coverage of the food and agricultural industries
- Food as the focus of entertainment television (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
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
The mediation of food activism:
- Communication for direct action (protest, demonstration, petition, boycott, etc.)
- Commodity activism
Imaginaries about the future of food, including:
- New sources (e.g., insects, algae, in vitro meat)
- Genetic engineering of plants and animals
- Transparency, traceability, blockchain, etc.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent in March 2020.