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You Are What You Eat: The Social Economy of the Slow Food Movement

Bruce Pietrykowski

Review of Social Economy, 2004, vol. 62, issue 3, 307-321

Abstract: Recent work by Schor revives concerns raised by Veblen and Hirsch over the destructive consequences of competitive consumption. In contrast, Twitchell argues that increased access to commodities as symbols of luxury signals a democratization of class and social status. Rather than playing the role of dupes, consumers are active co-conspirators in the creation and maintenance of luxury goods markets. While flawed, each of these perspectives has something important to offer to social economists interested in understanding consumption. A key question for social economists is whether material pleasure and the symbolic expression of identity through consumer goods is compatible with a more politicized, socially conscious consumption ethos. Food consumption offers a fruitful starting point for pursuing this issue. I begin by examining food and its symbolic role in identity formation. I then consider the Slow Food movement and explore the ways in which it maintains a central role for material pleasure while promoting a socially and environmentally conscious stance toward consumption.

Keywords: consumer identity; cultural capital; food consumption; social capital; slow food (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004
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DOI: 10.1080/0034676042000253927

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