Food007
Dystopian underbellies of food utopias

Convenors:
Meltem Turkoz (Bosphorus University )
António Medeiros (ISCTE University Institute of Lisbon, CEI-IUL)
Stream:
Food
Location:
A220
Start time:
23 June, 2015 at 14:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel explores the moral, aesthetic and philosophical axises around which food utopias are invoked and performed. Alan Warde's insight that "the structural anxieties about our age are made manifest in discourses about food" invites us to explore the dystopian underbellies of food utopias.

Long abstract:

This panel aims to bring together papers that explore the moral, aesthetic and philosophical axises around which food utopias are invoked, practiced and performed. Alan Warde's insight that "the structural anxieties about our age are made manifest in discourses about food" invites us to explore the dystopian underbellies of food utopias. Whether they appeal to authenticity, peace, safety, equality, or plenty, food utopias inherently imply their physical, moral or aesthetic dystopian inverse: of industrial process, adulteration or contamination, distasteful palates, and of unshared bounty. In a cross-cultural parable about the difference between paradise and hell, people sit around a great pot of delicious food, holding spoons too long and large to feed themselves, only to be able to eat when they feed each other. Food-related responses to the industrial food complex, neoliberal globalization and militarization invoke the reciprocity and interconnectedness implied in this parable. The imaginary of un-alienated labor informs the marketing of otherwise industrially prepared foods. In the discourse of purity in extra virgin olive, of authenticity in heirloom fruits and vegetables, food imaginaries in film or literature, the spectacle of hospitality in tourism, or the practice of gift economies in social movements, actors highlight various stages of production, consumption and preparation. We hope to explore the following questions, among others: How are food utopias acquired or cultivated and manifested in daily life? What aspects of food production, exchange, or consumption do these practices and performances reify and make visible—and across which temporal, geographic and spatial boundaries?