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CFP: Industrial French Food and Its Critics

A call for papers of potential interest to FoodAnthropology readers:

Industrial French Food and Its Critics

French food is steeped in contradictions. The French are often admired for their food culture and superior eating habits, which are in turn associated with artisanal production and convivial consumption. But the French agroindustrial food complex is a global powerhouse that runs on chemical inputs, intensive production methods, and international dumping practices. In this special issue of Modern and Contemporary France, titled “Industrial French Food and Its Critics,” these contradictions will be put into conversation with each other. By exploring the postwar evolution of French food, in all of its inconsistency, this special issue will call into question our assumptions about French food culture by revealing the multiple food cultures that have developed simultaneously through the postwar period.

Possible topics that contributors might explore:

  • French farming in European, colonial, and global contexts
  • The rise of restauration rapide
  • The industrial model and its economic and ecological discontents
  • Colonial and postcolonial production and consumption; transculturation through foodways
  • Organized resistance to the industrial model: Confédération paysanne, protests
  • Non-industrial forms of food production and consumption: organic agriculture, urban agriculture, jardins ouvriers, Slow Food, AMAP
  • Eco-critical approaches to food and its producers in literature, cinema, and popular culture
  • The contraction of agriculture and the rewilding of the French countryside
  • Haute cuisine, gastronomy, and terroir
  • Challenges to French agricultural power: BRIC nations, GMOs and trade deals, lawsuits at the WTO

This list is not exhaustive and potential contributors are invited to submit proposals on any and all aspects of the industrial food system in postwar France.

Please send abstracts of approximately 250 words, along with short CVs, to the guest editors, Venus Bivar and Tamara Whited, at vbivar@wustl.edu and twhited@iup.edu by August 15th. The list of contributors will be finalized by September 15th. Papers, not to exceed 8,000 words (excluding notes) will be due April 15th, 2018.

APPEL A CONTRIBUTIONS

La pratique alimentaire française est imprégnée de contradictions.  On admire souvent les Français pour leur culture de la table et leurs habitudes alimentaires supérieures, souvent associées à des choix de produits artisanaux et au repas convivial.  Paradoxalement le complexe agroindustriel français est une puissance globale fondée sur l’utilisation systématique d’engrais chimiques, des méthodes de production intensives, et des pratiques de dumping à l’échelle internationale.  Dans ce numéro spécial de Modern and Contemporary France, intitulé « l’Alimentation industrielle française et ses critiques », ces contradictions seront mises en dialogue les unes avec les autres.  En explorant les transformations de l’alimentation française et ses incohérences depuis la deuxième guerre mondiale, ce numéro remettra en question nos a priori relatifs à la culture alimentaire française et révélera des cultures alimentaires multiples qui n’ont cessé de se développer simultanément depuis la période d’après-guerre.

Parmi les sujets possibles:

  • l’agriculture française dans ses contextes européens, coloniaux, et mondiaux
  • le développement de la restauration rapide
  • le système industriel et ses défis économiques et écologiques
  • la production et consommation coloniales; la transculturation des habitudes et pratiques alimentaires
  • les résistances organisées face au système industriel: manifestations, la Confédération paysanne, les néo-ruraux
  • les méthodes anti-industrielles de production et consommation: le bio, l’agriculture urbaine, les jardins ouvriers, le Slow Food, les AMAP
  • les analyses écocritiques des représentations de l’agriculture dans la litérature, le cinéma, et la culture populaire
  • la contraction de l’agriculture et la désertification de la France rurale
  • Haute cuisine, gastronomie, terroir
  • les nouveaux défis lancés au pouvoir agricole de la France: les nations BRICS, les OGM et les accords commerciaux, les causes portées devant l’OMC

Cette liste n’est évidemment pas exhaustive, et les contributeurs sont invités à soumettre toute proposition portant sur les enjeux agro-industriels.

Nous vous prions d’envoyer un abrégé de 250 mots, avec également votre curriculum vitae aux deux éditeurs, Venus Bivar et Tamara Whited, à vbivar@wustl.edu et twhited@iup.edu avant le 15 aout.  La liste des auteurs retenus sera annoncée avant le 15 septembre.  Les articles, limités à 8.000 mots (notes non-incluses), devront être soumis aux éditeurs avant le 15 avril 2018.

Venus Bivar and Tamara Whited

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Shake Shack Burger Fever in Korea

Sangyoub Park
Washburn University

The popular American burger chain Shake Shack just opened its first Korean store on July 22, in the Gangnam District of Seoul, which is known as the Beverly Hills of Seoul. Koreans are hurriedly flocking to the store to taste the famous burger and fries.

The Korea Herald, a local newspaper, describes the grand opening day:

When the store opened on July 22, the online fervor was proven real. Even before the opening of the store at 10 a.m., people were reported to have lined up hours in advance, some having been there all night, to be the first to try the burgers. Around 1,500 people were reported to have lined up for two to three hours on that day (7.24. 2016).

shake shack opening korea

July 25, 2016, Shake Shack (around 9:00 am, people are waiting outside before the opening hour). Photo by Sangyoub Park.

It has been over a month after its opening but the fever has not faded away. It is reported that the Shake Shack store averages 3,000 customers every day. Due to recent sizzling weather in Seoul, the store dispatched a nurse from 11:00am to 6:00pm to prevent heat-related illness while waiting in line. The store is planning to keep a nurse until next month. The store also provides free bottled water and sun-umbrellas (used to block sun in East Asia) to those waiting in line as a cautionary step.

What accounts for this Shake Shack fever?  Why are Koreans obsessed with Shake Shack? First, it is because Shake Shack is the latest novelty from America. Korea has been brimming with American tastes from Burger King to McDonalds’, Pizza Hut, TGIF, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, and Krispy Kreme. Koreans love the taste of novelty. Some of these American foods have lost novelty since they are successfully localized. For example, it has been 28 years since McDonalds’ opened the first store in Seoul. Or Baskin Robbins is no longer especially exotic to Koreans since its first shop opened over three decades ago. More interestingly, one of my students informed me that having Western people in the kitchen appears to create a more authentic sense of Americanness.

shake shack burger and fries

Famous Shake Shack burgers with fries and shake, courtesy of Seung-Whan Lee.

Second, it can be attributed to the social media effect known as “eat and tweet” or “foodstagramming” (in Korea, it is called “meok-stagram,” which is a combination of eat, meok-da, and Instagram). Like the U.S., the food photo sharing phenomenon is prevalent in Korea. Posting food photos online is a way of showing off or bragging about one’s hipness or coolness. Sharing food photos is a way of boosting social status, that is, more “likes” means more popularity. These food photos bring recognition. In particular, trending foods like Shake Shack burger could help creating extra coolness. These photos can be used to elicit an image of life is good. They project an image of the good life.

Third, going to popular eating places like Shake Shack has become entertainment and sort of a leisure activity. It is a cool thing to do. Especially for young people, hanging out at such places has become popular entertainment. They are like “special events,” not for filling their stomach. This explains why waiting in line for a long time is not cumbersome to them. Opportunity cost seems not to apply to these queuers in that the end benefits are supposed to outweigh the cost of standing in long lines.

It is too soon to tell when the fever of Shake Shack will cool. But the excitement of this new taste does not seem to be dissipating  any time soon because the second Shake Shack store is slated to open at another place in which is not far from the first store in November.

For more photos, please visit: http://www.eater.com/2016/7/22/12258334/shake-shack-seoul-south-korea-photos.

For the grand opening of Shake Shack, please visit: http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2016/07/22/2016072202608.html.

Sangyoub Park is professor of Sociology at Washburn University. He can be contacted at sangyoub.park@washburn.edu

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Filed under anthropology, Food Studies, korea

What FoodAnthropology is Reading

David Beriss
University of New Orleans

An occasional and somewhat random list of articles, books, web sites, movies, television shows, and other sources of inspiration from anthropologists of food and nutrition. Feel free to send us items we should include in future installments.

The adventures of a French ethnographic film maker traveling across the United States, exploring local foodways. This is a very intriguing web project and a stunning web site. Settle in and enjoy the experience.

Watch  a lecture by Yale historian Paul Freedman on the history of celebrity chefs, at the annual MAD symposium in Copenhagen. If you visit the Mad site, you will find lots of other interesting lectures.

An interview with historian Elizabeth Abbott, author of Sugar: A Bittersweet History, about the role of sugar in contemporary diets, spotted by anthropologist Leslie Carlin.

Anthropologist and former SAFN president Janet Chrzan sends in this article in Mother Jones , which looks at a few recent studies about the American diet and concludes that while some people are eating better, any overall change in national eating habits will need to be driven by changes in the economy (income inequality, for example), rather than in the food system.

From Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet, to Green Acres, people have made fun of city folks who want to be farmers. But if you are seriously considering it, this piece from Modern Farmer might be a helpful read.

The U.S. Postal Service is honoring chefs with a new series of stamps. The article that explains this also discusses stamps in other countries that honor iconic foods. It might be even better if the stamps were scratch and sniff (maybe not the chef stamps, however).

School lunch has become one of the battle fields for the American culture wars. This article, by Franco-American journalist Hélène Crié-Wiesner, tries to make sense of the fight for French readers. The article, which is in French, suggests that the debate is less about food and kids and more about anti-Obama propaganda.

We have not seen the first issue of Render: Feminist Food & Culture Quarterly, but the web site is pretty interesting and you may want to take a look. For example, Phylisa Wisdom’s article on loving Mexican food in the context of U.S. immigration debates poses some sharp questions about culture, representation, labor, immigration, and other issues and might help start a robust discussion in a food studies class.

On the subject of journals, there is a new(ish) Canadian Food Studies journal and it is open access, so you can go ahead a read it even now. And if you want, you can also submit articles. Details and issues (well, 1.5 issues, it looks like so far) on the web site.

And on the subject of immigration and labor, this recent article in The New Yorker describes the efforts to organize fast food workers that have resulted in increasingly large protests, sit-ins and strikes in the last few years. The central demand is for a $15 hourly minimum wage in the industry along with recognition for unions, but the industry objects that this is too much. From the daily lives of workers, to the history of unions, the organization of the fast food and broader restaurant industry, there is much in this article for class discussions.

What are other food anthropologists reading? Let us know!

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Filed under anthropology, food activism, food policy, Food Studies, labor, nutrition