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Food and the Internet

Proceedings of the 20 th International Ethnological Food Research Conference, Department of Folklore and Ethnology, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Łodź, Poland, 3–6 September 2014

Edited By Violetta Krawczyk-Wasilewska and Patricia Lysaght

Discourses about food, especially on social media, affect the dietary choices of many people on a daily basis all over the world. In recognition of this phenomenon, the selection of 25 ethnological essays in this volume explores the effects of the digital age on post-modern food culture. It examines the influence of the Internet as a provider of a seemingly limitless flow of information and discourse about food sources, production, distribution and consumption. It also analyses the attitudes towards food in the context of ecological, environmental, ethical, health, and everyday lifestyle issues – at local, regional and global levels.
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Should the Mediterranean Diet be Viewed as a Fully-Fledged Public Discourse, or as Part of a Wider Food and Wellness Narrative? An Internet-Based Study: Ivanche Dimitrievski, Philippos Papadopoulos and Rodica Arpasanu

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Ivanche Dimitrievski, Philippos Papadopoulos and Rodica Arpasanu

Should the Mediterranean Diet be Viewed as a Fully-Fledged Public Discourse, or as Part of a Wider Food and Wellness Narrative? An Internet-Based Study

Defeated by westernisation processes in its native domain, the Mediterranean diet seeks asylum in the West itself. An American food magazine noted that, in the U.S., “[the] Mediterranean is moving out of the shadows of the big three ethnic cuisines [Mexican, Italian, and Chinese] and taking center stage at restaurants.” (Lauren 2011, p. 1). One study of Google search trends, for example, showed a decline in the related Spanish, Italian, and Greek cuisines in the U.S. as against to the remarkable 139% increase of searches concerning the Mediterranean cuisine group (Papadopoulos / Arpasanu / Pavlovska 2014, pp. 1-20). Should this achievement be considered a sign of mature discourse, or rather a side effect of the broader interest in food and wellness narratives in this country? We shall address these questions in the light of Foucault’s discourse analysis. In seeking to identify the position of the Mediterranean diet in the constellation of dominant public narratives, we shall draw evidence from American electronic ‘health’ and ‘healthy living’ magazines.

Theoretical Note

Foucault (1972) argued that discourse is “a fragment of history […] posing its own limits, its divisions, its transformations, the specific modes of its temporality.” (p. 117). Such conceptualisation requires focus on discourse as a matter of the social, historical, and political conditions under...

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