Food, Space, and Place in a Global Society
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Table of Contents
- Introduction: Mapping the Contemporary Foodscape—Intersections Between Food, Space and Place (Carlnita P. Greene)
- 1. “You Can Taste It in the Wine”: Terroir and the Embodiment of Place (June Brawner)
- 2. Chocolate, Place, and Space: Cacao Terroir and Pre-Columbian to Early Modern Political Geographies (Kathryn E. Sampeck)
- 3. The Restaurant: A Perfect Collision of Public and Private? (Ryan S. Eanes)
- 4. Music to Our Mouths: Ambiance, Place, and Flavor in Modern Dining (Michael Pennell)
- 5. Food at School (Michael S. Bruner / Elizabeth Phillips)
- 6. The Contemporary Allure of a Food Market: An Ethnographic Study of Dolac Market (Melanija Belaj / Jelena Ivanišević)
- 7. “Put It on My Tab”: Dominican-Haitian Relations and Buying Food on Credit in Neighborhood Corner Stores (Christine Hippert)
- 8. Agrarian Myth, Public Memory, and the Industrial Food Narrative of American Family Farming at Iowa’s Living History Farms Open-Air Museum (Ross Singer)
- 9. Kitchen, Nation, Diaspora: Ntozake Shange’s African American Foodways (Courtney Thorsson)
- 10. #London Vegans (Zachary Hecht)
- 11. Bodies, Places and Spaces for Food Taste and Waste (Leda Cooks)
- 12. Teaching Travel through Wandering and Food (Irina Gendelman / Jeff Birkenstein)
- 13. Touring Taste and Place: A Performance of Tongues, Terroir, and Taters (David Szanto)
Ranging from public markets and urban agriculture to food carts and food apps, today, the convergence between food, space, and place almost is taken for granted because it is such an ordinary facet of daily life. Increasingly, our contemporary identities are intrinsically linked to the food that we eat and to the spaces and places that we inhabit in a globalized world. Indeed, as Anne Marie Todd suggests, in “Eating the View: Environmental Aesthetics, National Identity, and Food Activism,” “…food is an environmental symbol, because it represents humanity’s fundamental relationship with the natural environment.”1 Yet, despite both a mounting awareness of food’s connection to the natural world, and a profusion of food throughout diverse locations, there is still a need to further analyze its relationship to space and place.
In “You Are What You Environmentally, Politically, Socially, and Economically Eat: Delivering the Sustainable Farm and Food Message,” Ruth Katz reveals, “Now ‘what you eat’ has come to mean all the environmental, political, social justice, economic, and finally nutritional layers represented by any given piece of food.”2 Correspondingly, in “The Geography of Food,” Derek Shanahan claims, “Food is inherently geographic. Food comes from somewhere. Different foods are associated with different groups of people. And such cultural identities are usually place-based.”3 Therefore, paralleling our relationships with food, places not only affect our behaviors and practices within the world, but also, they “…reinforce certain power relations by communicating meanings and values and by shaping movements and activities ← 1 | 2 → through their physical organization.”4 However, rather than examining food, space, and place as separate or discrete entities, we must analyze them in tandem.
Although the relationship between food and place is synergistic, it also is a complex one. Many of us can imagine why food is central to place-making. Yet, for some people, it is difficult to grasp why place is crucial to our knowledge, understanding of, and relationships with, food. Nevertheless, if “what you eat, tells us who you are,” then what you do in those spaces and places is just as important. Equally, how those spaces and places impact you, and your experiences within them, also is significant.
To begin, we have to consider “place,” not simply in terms of being situated within a particular region or geographic location, but also as including the idea of “space.” In his work, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, Yi-Fu Tan states: “‘Space’ is more abstract than place. What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better and endow it with value.”5 He further suggests, “the ideas of ‘space’ and ‘place’ require each other for definition.”6 Therefore, because one informs the other, throughout this edited volume, we will address them as being closely intertwined.
Both spaces and places can be real or imaginary. They also can include physical, virtual, and/or mediated experiences. Yet, within the contexts of our relationships to food, we also must not forget that spaces and places play equal roles and are key actors. As Raka Shome argues in “Space Matters: The Power and the Practice of Space,” “Space is not merely a backdrop, though, against which the cultural politics of communication occurs. Rather, it needs to be recognized as a central component in that communication.”7 In this sense, its relationship with food is, at once, embedded, symbolic, and symbiotic. Therefore, we must explore the interconnections between food, drink, space, and place, both locally and globally. Furthermore, since these aspects are most central to our lives, it is crucial for us to understand the multifaceted ways in which they concomitantly shape our experiences.
Food and place matter. The kinds of experiences that they foster not only have a profound impact on how we consider food or place, but also reveal the complex meanings that we create about larger social, cultural, political, economic, and material phenomena. They also shape the most intimate aspects of our lives, such as how we relate to others, how we communicate, how we perform our identities, and how we make sense of the world. That is to say, we not only shape food and place; they shape us. Now that we have briefly explored this relationship between food, drink, space, and place, we will delve further into the notion of “foodscapes.” ← 2 | 3 →
The Notion of “Foodscapes”
Food and place are inextricably linked. For this reason, this book is entitled “Foodscapes,” because we believe it is a concept, which best represents the interconnected nature of their relationship, and exemplifies our vision for this collection. Following Pauline Adema’s work, “Foodscape: An Emulsion of Food and Landscape,” we are using the term “foodscapes” to address the multifaceted, dynamic, and fluid intersections, which constitute the relationship between food, drink, space, and place. As Adema explains, “Foodscape, broadly conceived, represents a marriage between food and landscape, both the conceptual notion of landscape and actual, physical space.”8 Yet, this definition is far more complex than we might assume and this union between food and landscapes also functions in myriad ways.
According to Adema, the term “foodscape,” also encompasses the following aspects: 1) it “…incorporates the dynamics of global exchange, including the translocal and transnational character of modern food practices”; 2) it “…refers to food(s) peculiar to the locality and/or people under consideration, activities like consumption or methods of procurement and preparation and modes of display and performance related to those foods or practiced by those people”; 3) it expresses “…people’s relationships with food in various social and individual contexts, relationships that are variously manifested in the diverse scapes of modern life”; 4) It reflects physical space, the tangible and intangible connections between food and place, and is “…articulated through site- or place-specific food associations”; 5) it is “…symbolic of real and desired identities and of power, social, and spatial relations articulated through food”; and, 6) it is a flexible term, which, “…provides a useful framework for discourses about food and landscape of any scale: foodscape is applicable to sites of various sizes, from the personal space of a body to the social spaces of a kitchen or community to the public spaces of a city, region, or nation.”9
Likewise, not wanting to neglect the area of taste, within this collection, our usage of “foodscapes,” accounts for the notion of terroir as being an essential part of this definition. “Terroir” is described as, “the combination of physical factors (climate and soils) and human ones (tradition and cultivation practices) that influence what food is grown and raised, and how it is prepared and cooked in a particular agricultural community.”10 It also is a fundamental way that we can begin to understand the connections between food, drink, space, and place. ← 3 | 4 →
Paralleling these perspectives, many of the chapters are underpinned by the related notion of “tastescapes.” As Adele Wessell suggests in, “We Are What We Grow: Reading a Tastescape as a Text of Culinary History”:
Reading the landscape as a gastronomic text foregrounds this relationship between humans and their environment and the record of cultural values and practices inscribed in the food choices we make at each meal…People need food for survival, but their tastes are conditioned by cultural and historical factors; we transform environments to produce the food we recognize, the foods we want to eat or can sell.11
Thus, by fusing all of these ideas together within our usage of “foodscapes,” these related factors not only permeate the content of this edited volume, but also shape the major questions, which we address within it.
Major Questions Underlying This Collection
Today, there is an emerging interest in exploring the relationship between food, space, and place both within popular and academic discourses. Scholars throughout various fields have undertaken important work in bringing this subject to the forefront of scholarly inquiry. Some of the most recent works in this area include, Trauger’s Food Sovereignty in International Contexts: Discourse, Politics, and the Practice of Place, Fitzpatrick and Willis’ A Place-Based Perspective of Food in Society, Freedman, Chaplin, and Albala’s Food in Time and Place: The American Historical Association Companion to Food History, Shaw’s The Consuming Geographies of Food: Diet, Food Deserts and Obesity, and Trubeck’s The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir.12 Given this outpouring of scholarship on the subject of food and place, you may be wondering why we need another collection on this subject.
Because the study of food, drink, space, and place is still relatively new, we believe that there is a need for multiple perspectives on this subject. Consequently, rather than viewing this collection as competing with those other works, we view ours as an extension of them, as another means of continuing to question this relationship between food, space, and place, from both comparable and diverging perspectives. Therefore, some of the major questions that we address in this book are as follows:
- What is the nature of the relationship between food, drink, space, and place?
- How do food, space, and place contribute to, and impact, a multiplicity of human activities and experiences? ← 4 | 5 →
- What kinds of discourses emerge, and are communicated about, our relationships with food, with the environment, and with each other?
- How do we come to know, and to understand, both ourselves and others through our interactions with food, drink, space, and place?
- How do issues like sustainability, hunger, waste, and food insecurity intersect within foodscapes?
- What are some of the complexities, or paradoxes, surrounding food production, preparation, and consumption in relation to larger environmental, social, political, material, economic, and cultural issues?
Although these are the major questions, which we address throughout this collection, we do not view them as being mutually-exclusive. Similarly, each contributor answers these questions, or related ones, based on their particular areas of academic expertise. Because we use such varied approaches, it means that each person may develop very different questions than the ones stated above or may provide very different responses to them. Therefore, let us take a closer look at the scope of the book.
The Scope of Foodscapes and a Preview of Chapters
Multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary in nature, this collection draws upon scholars throughout diverse fields ranging from communication and business management to history and cultural anthropology. It is broadly situated within the fields of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Its aim is to offer our readers a wide array of theories, methods, and perspectives that can be used as lenses for analyzing the interconnections between food, drink, space, and place. Therefore, the contributors not only examine a variety of spaces and places where we produce, prepare, and consume food or drink, but also, they analyze the manifold, embodied experiences that we have when engaging with food, drink, spaces, and places.
Our methods encompass traditional and emerging approaches to the study of food, space, and place, including ethnographic, discursive, visual, performative, economic, rhetorical, narrative, critical/cultural studies, environmental, historical, and comparative perspectives. While the chapters are organized according to key themes which emerge between them, the ideas discussed by contributors, are interrelated ones. Thus, the perspectives presented throughout this collection are intended to be “in conversation” with each other, as they often overlap and intersect. Similarly, international and intercultural perspectives are integrated throughout the book, rather than being treated as separate phenomena. ← 5 | 6 →
Given the diverse ways in which food, drink, space, and place are symbiotic, throughout the chapters of this book, each contributor illustrates how these key aspects inform each other, as well as how they affect our lives. In each chapter, scholars interrogate our practices and behaviors with food, space and place, analyze the meanings that we create about these entities, and demonstrate their wider cultural, political, social, economic, and material implications.
To begin our exploration of this relationship, in the initial chapters, our authors utilize ethnographic, anthropological, and historical approaches to examine the intersections between tastes, places, and palates. In Chapter 1, Brawner analyzes the complex, often problematic nature of relying on terroir as an indicator of quality by using the example of winemaking in Tojak, Hungary as a case study. Relatedly, by tracing the origins of chocolate, in Chapter 2, Sampeck, undertakes a comparative analysis of various pre-Columbian and early modern texts that describe cacao preparations on both sides of the Atlantic to demonstrate the relationship between terroir and political power.
Ranging from restaurants and schools to public markets and corner stores, the authors in the next set of chapters investigate the manifold ways in which we utilize and interact with food in public and private spaces, both locally and globally. They analyze how we frame food and place within myriad discourses. They also examine how food, space, and place affect our notions of “public” versus “private” and reveal how food melds within our increasingly blurred public and private spaces.
In Chapter 3, Eanes, utilizes the theoretical frameworks of impression management and dramaturgical theory to trace the evolution of privacy and space related to the restaurant. Pennell also undertakes an examination of a restaurant, in Chapter 4, by exploring the various ways in which music shapes our dining experiences and how flavor is rhetorically-constructed. Then, in Chapter 5, Bruner and Phillips consider one of the most important public spaces in the lives of children and youth, by addressing the paradoxical ways in which food at school often functions ideologically.
Next, focusing on food markets, in Chapter 6, Belaj and Ivanišević undertake an ethnographic study of Dolac by demonstrating how it functions as a communication hub within the city of Zagreb in Croatia. Similarly, in Chapter 7, Hippert investigates how buying food on credit in corner stores impacts intercultural relations among working-class Dominicans, Dominico-Haitians, and Haitians in the community of Cabarete on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.
By exploring the convergence between the senses, aesthetics, and embodied performances, in the next group of chapters, the authors reveal why food, ← 6 | 7 → space, and place, are inherently linked to our personal and group identities, as well as how they impact our experiences of “being” within the world. They analyze how food and place contribute to our senses of embodiment, through evoking emotions and stimulating reactions. Likewise, they consider how our own performances equally contribute to these experiences.
In Chapter 8, Singer addresses how Living History Farms uses its exhibits and environment to offer its visitors a narrative framework for remembering a distant agrarian past, which also informs its role in today’s agriculture and food system. Utilizing Ntozake Shange’s If I Can Cook / You Know God Can as a text, in Chapter 9, Thorsson examines the multifaceted ways in which this experimental cookbook theorizes and prescribes foodways as practices of African American identity and how it provides a set of instructions for enacting an African American cultural nationalism informed by the diaspora.
Paralleling these examinations, in the next two chapters, both authors also investigate the ways in which food can be used politically as a form of identity creation, identity maintenance, and, especially, as a form of resistance. In Chapter 10, Hecht addresses how members of the London Vegan community create a sense of belonging through the use of specific practical and sensory conditions, with social media serving a central role. Next, by utilizing an auto-ethnographic lens, in Chapter 11, Cooks, traces the complexities of taste, waste, capital and embodiment.
Finally, because our experiences of food, drink, space, and place often are shaped by memory and the imagination, our last two contributors analyze how these aspects converge within the experiences of traveling and culinary tourism. By addressing how our processes of meaning-making, recollection, and reflection, intersect with, and within, these experiences, the authors also suggest that these experiences are fraught with complexities and contradictions, are characterized by mobility and fluidity, and are ever-changing.
In Chapter 12 Gendelman and Birkenstein, discuss how they use the traditional concept of the “flâneur” to draw inspiration for their teaching and traveling, by focusing on food as an opportunity to broaden the cross-disciplinary, critical pedagogy, both within their courses and within their student-centered, experiential travel. In the last chapter, Chapter 13, we come full circle by returning to questions of terroir, taste, place, and space in touring. Utilizing the lens of performance studies, Szanto, examines the notion of relationality in the context of space and place, by attempting to respond to, although not to provide definitive answers for, several questions related to broader discourses underlying the relationship between food, space, and place. Therefore, rather than ending the conversation, the last chapter is meant to open up the possibilities for inquiry and to create an ongoing conversation. ← 7 | 8 →
Again, the relationship between food, space, and place is not a new one. Yet, we hope that this edited volume will help readers to view the convergence between them in a new light. We encourage our readers to continue to explore the issues raised in this book. Our hope is that it will inspire you to question your own assumptions, to develop new answers to the questions discussed by the authors, and to pose your own questions. Thus, we also strongly believe that this collection will spark new methods of inquiry, which will address these complex phenomena and the issues surrounding them.
1. Anne Marie Todd, “Eating the View: Environmental Aesthetics, National Identity, and Food Activism,” in Food as Communication/Communication as Food, eds. Janet M. Cramer, Carlnita P. Greene, and Lynn M. Walters (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2011), 299.
2. Ruth Katz, “You Are What You Environmentally, Politically, Socially, and Economically Eat: Delivering the Sustainable Farm and Food Message,” Environmental Communication 4, no. 3 (September 2010): 371.
3. Derek Shanahan, “The Geography of Food,” Journal for the Study of Food and Society 6, no. 1(April 2015): 7.
4. Alexandra Kogl, Strange Places: The Political Potentials and Perils of Everyday Spaces (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007), 2–3.
5. Yi-Fu Tan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977), 6.
6. Ibid., 6.
7. Raka Shome, “Space Matters: The Power and the Practice of Space,” Communication Theory 13, no. 1 (February 2003): 40.
8. Pauline Adema, “Foodscape: An Emulsion of Food and Landscape,” Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies 7, no. 1 (Winter 2007): 3.
9. Ibid., 3.
10. Michael Broadway, “Implementing the Slow Life in Southwest Ireland: A Case Study of Clonakilty and Local Food,” Geographical Review 105, no. 2 (April 2015): 216.
11. Adele Wessell, “We Are What We Grow: Reading a Tastescape as a Text of Culinary History,” TEXT Special Issue: Rewriting the Menu: The Cultural Dynamics of Contemporary Food Choices, no. 9 (October 2010): 2–3.
12. Amy Trauger, ed. Food Sovereignty in International Contexts: Discourse, Politics, and the Practice of Place (London: Routledge, 2015); Kevin Fitzpatrick and Don Willis, eds. A Place-Based Perspective of Food in Society (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); Paul M. Freedman, Joyce E. Chaplin, and Ken Albala, eds. Food in Time and Place: The American Historical Association Companion to Food History (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2014); Hillary J. Shaw, The Consuming Geographies of Food: Diet, Food Deserts and Obesity (New York: Routledge, 2014); and Amy Trubeck, The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008). ← 8 | 9 →
Adema, Pauline. “Foodscape: An Emulsion of Food and Landscape.” Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies 7, no. 1 (Winter 2007): 3.
Broadway, Michael. “Implementing the Slow Life in Southwest Ireland: A Case Study of Clonakilty and Local Food.” Geographical Review 105, no. 2 (April 2015): 216–34.
Fitzpatrick, Kevin, and Don Willis, eds. A Place-Based Perspective of Food in Society. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Freedman, Paul M., Joyce E. Chaplin, and Ken Albala, eds. Food in Time and Place: The American Historical Association Companion to Food History. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2014.
Katz, Ruth. “You Are What You Environmentally, Politically, Socially, and Economically Eat: Delivering the Sustainable Farm and Food Message.” Environmental Communication 4, no. 3 (September 2010): 371–77.
Kogl, Alexandra. Strange Places: The Political Potentials and Perils of Everyday Spaces. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007.
Shanahan, Derek. “The Geography of Food.” Journal for the Study of Food and Society 6, no. 1 (April 2015): 7–9.
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- Publication date
- 2019 (January)
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2019. VI, 326 pp., 11 b/w ill.