Digital food activism: power, knowledge, and consumer action
New information and communication technologies (ICTs) increasingly enable social action and civic organisation, on both local and global scales. Ranging from social media platforms to mobile apps, data sharing wiki platforms, and hacktivist projects, the activist landscape is rapidly shifting, collapsing geographic boundaries to invoke social and ethical values on a transnational scale, and form new issue publics with fast, sometimes mercurial, collective action. Within these emerging digital platforms for activism, food-related consumer action is gaining new contours and publics. In this paper, we explore the emerging field of digital food activism. Digital food activism does not simply refer to food activism that occurs on digital media. Rather, it encompasses forms of food activism enabled and shaped by and through digital media platforms, with the medium as an integral part of the activist project. Focusing on three case studies - a mobile app, a wiki platform, and an online-centric activist organisation - we examine how activist-ICT interactions generate new knowledges and practices in relation to consumer-based food activism. With particular emphasis on the social and ethical values implicated in ICT-enabled food activism, we critically analyse how European consumers and social entrepreneurs use ICTs to facilitate new forms of engagement with food, and how ICTs, in turn, shape possibilities for action. Bridging anthropology and science and technology studies, our analysis develops new understandings of alternative food networks, social movements, political consumerism, and expertise in the digital age.
contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area
SHSS - Kulturen, Institutionen, Maerkte (KIM)
Biennial Conference of the European Association for Social Anthropologists (EASA 2016): Anthropological legacies and human futures
University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy