Accepted paper:

Economy as ritual: performative spaces inside the Slow Food Movement


Valeria Siniscalchi (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Marseille)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will reflect to the imbrications between economy and ritual through the analysis of two Slow Food movement's events. These are about food, selling, politics but they are also ways of changing society and imagining news ways to make economy

Paper long abstract:

The aim of this paper is to reflect upon the imbrications between economy and ritual through the analysis of two apparently unrelated social gatherings of the Slow Food movement: the "Salone del Gusto", an international exhibition fair of high quality food products, and the concomitant "Terra Madre", a meeting of small producers invited from all around the world to discuss food politics and the future of local economies. These two events, which take place in Turin every two years, may be read also as rituals in which food become a connection, a way of communication producing different forms of sociality and linking producers and consumers (Salone del Gusto) as well as producers between them (Terra Madre). New forms of economy emerge out of ritual and from ritual gatherings. From this perspective, "Salone del Gusto" and "Terra Madre" need to be analyzed together as complementary spaces of production of new ways of doing economy and imagining a new economic order. Economy here must be considered also as a ritual which talks to people of an ideal food, of an ideal world and of new ways of producing and consuming. As ritual, economy presents an ideal and moral order. And what is performed here is a "moral economy" of food conceived partly as an alternative to neoliberalism and partly as a reform of it.

panel W120
Economy and ritual