Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN05_03b: Digital food
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Torvald Tangelad, Oslo Metropolitan University
Location: BS.G.35
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road

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When Digital Devices Come Home for Dinner - Devising Food Consumption

Emma Samsioe, Christian Fuentes

Lund University, Sweden

Digital devices are increasingly intertwined with everyday life. Websites, web shops, social media, QR codes, smartphones, smart watches, and other digital artefacts are now incorporated into our ordinary consumption, replacing other entities and reconfiguring our practices. In the area of food consumption, digitalization has given way to a number of digital food platforms such as food box scheme, food sharing apps, and online food stores. These digital platforms are often presented as sustainable alternatives leading to the increased sales of ecological products (online stores), diminishing food waste (food sharing apps), or promoting healthy vegetarian lifestyles (food box schemes).

In this paper we want to explore if, how, and under what conditions digital food platforms are able to “disrupt” household’s food consumption and promote sustainability. Drawing on an ethnographic study of a food box scheme company, Årstiderna, which presents itself as promoting sustainable, healthy vegetarian food, and combining insights and concepts from practice theory and STS, we set out to explore what happens as these digital market devices enter the household.

Preliminary findings show that this digital food platform disrupts and reconfigures household’s food practices, taking over some of the tasks of food planning and food shopping, thereby decompressing time and creating pockets of time that can be used for cooking and eating. However, this “work transfer” comes at a price, as what is cooked, how and how it is enjoyed is now configured by the market device.

The “Digitalization Of Food Practices (DiFPra) Project”: Understanding How Digital Tools Intertwine With Daily Food Practices

Margot Dyen

University of Neuchâtel, France

Nowadays, seven in ten Europeans use internet every day. Plus, the use of digital tools like mobiles applications is increasing in different food practices: shopping, cooking, storing, balancing diet, etc. Digital tools can also be used to consume more sustainably, to be sure of a choice or even to opt for more convenience: How do food-related digital tools facilitate food practices? In parallel, digital tools can sometimes interfere with food practices (e.g. texting while sharing a meal, listening to a podcast while shopping, etc.): How do digital tools interfere with food practices? Our two questions aim at characterizing the use of digital tools to understand how they re-shape food practices (Choi and Graham, 2014), focusing on three dimensions of food practices: commensality, task sharing, health and sustainability. In view of the omnipresence of digital tools in our daily consumption, they can be considered as a mirror of the everyday life (Hine, 2015). This work will be a two-year project which will be submitted in September 2019. The authors would like to share this project with the RN05, to validate that it will inform how technologies intertwine with daily (food) practices (Ruckenstein and Pantzar, 2015).

Meat Porn: Considering Practice / Discourse Formations

Stefan Wahlen

Wageningen University, Netherlands, The

This contribution is interested in practice-discouse formations. In the context of sustainable and healthy food consumption, I want to explore practice / discourse formations that relate to a particular type of meat consumption: the practice of barbequing. I am interested in how the practice of barbequing is influenced by societal discourses rendering food consumption as morally and normatively acceptable. The research question asks: how are ways of thinking about barbequing in media debates contributing to normative and performative repertoires in practice / discourse formations? In the analysis I am drawing upon a monthly published magazine entitled "beef" and adjacent societal debates on barbequing. The results underscore the interdependencies between the sayings of discourse shaping the doing of practices. The particular practice of barbequing can be considered as relating to what I call meat porn, a way of rendering the preparing and eating meat as a particular masculine activity that is drawing upon normative repertoires of authenticity and the understanding of "proper" food.

Food Bloggers: The Role of Immaterial Labour in Shaping Cultural Values Around Sustainable Food Consumption

Jennifer Cole-Wright

University of Leicester, United Kingdom

This paper explores the role of bloggers as influential figures who contribute to market understandings, shape values and influence consumer behaviour around sustainable food consumption practices.

Blogs are increasingly read by a wide range of consumers, as both information sources and as forming part of leisure time. There is a general decline in reading traditional print media formats; instead, consumers are expressing a preference for the immediacy and convenience of online sources. Simultaneous to the rise of blogs, food as a genre in both new and established media formats is dominant and popular. Given the increasing public interest in food alongside growing concerns about food security and unsustainable food practices, blogs offer the potential to act as a significant source of influence.

Despite the increasing number of consumers engaging with blogs, there has been little academic attention on the people who are producing this content. Blogs facilitate non-professional producers to take part in cultural production through meditating messages, which in turn is shaping cultural values and tastes. As such, it is essential to consider these new producers' roles in more detail.

The paper, derived from interviews with food bloggers, will examine the motivations behind amateur bloggers and the practices they enact in the creation of their blogs. It also looks at how bloggers legitimise their work and value production, given the lack of formal credentials, or institutional authority to draw on. The research contextualises the work of creating and maintaining a blog as immaterial labour and uses this a lens to study how amateur bloggers are contributing to the production of cultural values around sustainable food consumption.

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