By examining how digital technologies impact on traditions of cooking and eating, and attendant subject positions, the Digital Food Cultures workshop aims to reflect critically on the relationship between food, digital culture and society. Ultimately, this workshop seeks to advance understandings of digital food culture, and specifically how – through the dialogue between online tools and offline practices – it contributes to the contemporary production of everyday life.
Food is a collection of traditions, truth claims and value judgements (Goody 1982; Goody 1998). Likewise, food is intimately connected to the performance of everyday life and to the social structures by which people establish understandings of cultural norms and hierarchies (e.g. Julier 2013; Watson and Caldwell 2005). Digital culture, meanwhile, is also a core element of the everyday – deemed significant even by their absence (nb. van Deursen and van Dijk 2014). As such, digital culture, like food, is implicated in contemporary processes of knowledge production and power distribution (e.g. van Dijck 2013; McChesney 2013; Thumin 2012).
Digital Food Cultures thus seeks to provide an intellectual space in which to unpack and theorise how food and digital culture intersect. Through sustained attention to what I suggest are key ‘territories of the quotidian’, the workshop will consider how the relationship between food and digital culture contributes to the ethical, political, economic and social registers of everyday life.
Workshop participants will be invited to reflect on the ways in which social media economics and content generation strategies intersect with food studies narratives around authority, authenticity and access (e.g. Johnston and Baumann 2010; Goodman, Maye and Holloway 2010; Naccarato and LeBesco 2012). We will also consider what can be understood through the juxtaposition of digital modernity’s always-on ethos (Wajcman 2014; Smithies forthcoming) with the popularity of the Slow Food movement, farm-to-table restaurants, and community-supported agriculture schemes (e.g. LeBesco and Naccarato 2008; Bell and Valentine 1998). Similarly, we will examine how digital technologies shape contemporary understandings of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food, food practices and practitioners (e.g. Frewer, forthcoming), and what this means for the contemporary ethics of consumption. Finally, the workshop will explore how digital food culture, as a theoretical framework and emerging field of study, can contribute to locating the possibilities and limits of life-with-screen (nb. Turkle 1995).
Short abstracts (150-250 words) should be submitted to zeena.feldman [at] kcl.ac.uk and m.k.goodman [at] reading.ac.uk by 31 May 2017.