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UBC Theses and Dissertations

You say pleasurable, I say political : political activism and cultural translation in the slow food movement Steager, Tabitha


In the twenty years since its founding, the Italian-born Slow Food movement has grown to include over 85,000 members worldwide. Its executive board has members from India, Japan, Kenya, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Australia, and the European Union (EU). Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic research conducted in Italy, France, the UK, and North America, this thesis explores how Slow Food principles and goals are translated culturally. I pay particular attention to how political activism around Slow Food is articulated in Italy and the United States through large conferences for both the public at large and food producers as well as farmers who are part of the global Slow Food membership. I conclude that Slow Food USA more visibly articulates a strongly politically active stance than is expressed by the parent Slow Food International organization in Italy. To bring context to this analysis, I provide a broad discussion of globalization and localization, and the intersections of the two, as well as the connections between food and identity. The ways in which Slow Food manipulates particular aspects of globalization are essential to understanding the movement and as such are explored in some detail.

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