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Discourses on the Future of Food

08.01.2020 21:53 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

September 23-25, 2020

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Deadline: January 15, 2020

The 2nd Biennial Conference on Food & Communication

Keynote speaker: Prof. JOSÉE JOHNSTON, University of Toronto

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 power. 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.

1) 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

2) 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

3) 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

4) The mediation of food activism:

  • Communication for direct action (protest, demonstration, petition, boycott, etc.)
  • Commodity activism

5) Imaginaries about the future of food, including:

  • New sources (e.g., insects, algae, in vitro meat)
  • Genetic engineering of plants and animals
  • Hydroponics
  • Aquaculture
  • Transparency, traceability, blockchain, etc.

Abstracts of 300-500 words and queries can be submitted to:

Abstracts may also be submitted via the web page below where further information can be found:

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out in March 2020.

Associated costs Fee

Fee for conference attendance is 120 EUR and will cover the cost of food and drink during the conference plus materials.

An optional conference dinner costs 35 EUR (three courses of local dishes and local wine). Dinner will take place on Thursday evening, September 24th 2020 at Gostilna na Gradu.

Travel and accommodation costs will need to be covered by participants themselves.

Dr. Andreja Vezovnik, University of Ljubljana, Chair of Local Committee (contact person)

Dr. Ana Tominc, Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, Chair of Program Committee



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