Ingredients of Discourse: Analyzing the Language of Food in Discourses of Multiculturalism

By Xaviera (Mei Mei) Xiao.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 1, 2017 $US5.00

The article highlights and contextualizes the tendency to use food and eating-related terminology within discourses on multiculturalism in order to consider the potential significance and larger implications of this tendency. Roland Barthes and Pierre Bourdieu’s discussions on the intersections of taste, consumption, and social hierarchies are placed in conversation with critical insights offered by various cultural theorists including Stuart Hall and Ellen D. Wu that foreground identity politics in a nuanced manner to form a critical framework from which to structure and guide the article’s analysis. These theoretical discourses are extrapolated by engaging with “My Banana Story,” an Asian American activist-initiated art project that foregrounds issues of identity politics. The article argues that food-related language utilized to discuss intercultural interaction, while having the capacity to appear seemingly insignificant and apolitical, is structured on a consumerist logic of consumption that produces a white monocultural North American identity as the implicit norm.

Keywords: Race, Multiculturalism, Language, Identity, Discourses of Consumption

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2017, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 1, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 426.029KB)).

Xaviera (Mei Mei) Xiao

Senior Research Assistant, Department of Applied Social Science, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China