Why food matters: new perspectives on the politics of food

Alison Leitch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


This paper examines two separate political responses to food and social change in Europe. I begin with a brief re-examination of the Slow Food Movement, an international consumer movement dedicated to the protection of ‘endangered foods’. The history of one of these ‘endangered foods’, lardo di Colonnata, provides the ethnographic window through which I explore Slow Food’s cultural politics. Just as in Italy the Slow Food Movement has made a significant intervention into national debates about cultural homogenization, in France a debate about the risks of agricultural biotechnology has revitalized public discussion about the meaning of French agriculture and the historic role of the French peasant farmer in the preservation of the cultural landscape. Despite their distinctive national contexts, a comparison of the politics of the two movements reveals quite similar discursive strategies through which to debate Europeaness and the implications of economic globalization at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In conclusion, I suggest that contemporary European food politics engages with deeply rooted anxieties over national identity concerning not just economics, but, more importantly, moral economies in the new Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTASA 2005 conference
Subtitle of host publicationUniversity of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, 5-8 December 2005 : conference proceedings
EditorsRoberta Julian, Reannan Rottier, Rob White
Place of PublicationHawthorn, Vic.
PublisherThe Australian Sociological Association (TASA)
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0959846050
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventAustralian Sociological Association Conference - Hobart
Duration: 5 Dec 20058 Dec 2005


ConferenceAustralian Sociological Association Conference


  • Europe
  • food politics
  • identity
  • globalization
  • nostalgia


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