Professors Josée Johnston and Shyon Baumann recently published an article with recent PhD graduate Merin Oleschuk (currently Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) in the American Sociological Association’s member newsletter Footnotes. Titled “Foodie Tensions in Tough Times”, the authors review social pressures and inequalities heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and their effects on foodies and foodie culture.
Josée Johnston is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Her research interests include Sociology of Food, Sociology of Consumerism, Consumer Culture, Globalization, Political Ecology and Critical Social Theory. Shyon Baumann is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and specializes in the sociological study of the media, culture, and the arts. His research centres on several key concepts, those of evaluation, legitimacy, status, cultural schemas, and inequality.
We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article on the American Sociological Association website here.
Foodie Tensions in Tough TimesMerin Oleschuk, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignJosée Johnston, Professor of Sociology, University of TorontoShyon Baumann, Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto
Foodie culture has long walked a razor’s edge of snob appeal and accessibility. Foodie culture celebrates eating styles that cut across lines of highbrow and lowbrow, upscale and down-market, home-grown and remote—from street-food festivals and truck-stop pecan pie to truffle shavings and French wines.Navigating these tensions has always been a balancing act, but today’s troubled times seem to further complicate foodie culture’s fraught relationship with culinary democracy and distinction. Amid a global pandemic that has brought death, illness, and economic hardship to millions, do people still value food fashions and pleasure-seeking food experiences? What challenges do the food system pressures and amplified inequalities prompted by COVID-19 pose to foodies?