Slow Food in Australia: A Sociological Exploration
Researchers: Assoc Prof John Germov & Dr Lauren Williams
University of Newcastle Strategic Pilot Grant - $13 500
Slow Food is a global social movement that arose in response to the cultural homogenisation, taste standardisation, health and environmental problems associated with fast food. Despite its popularity, there has been little empirical research on Slow Food and no Australian study to date. This project addressed the gap in the literature via an innovative qualitative study into people's subjective experiences of Slow Food. Participants were recruited at the major Australian Slow Food event, A Taste of Slow, an annual food and wine festival held in Victoria. The project involved 30 interviews with event participants that have been transcribed and thematically analysed. The findings enhance our understanding of the changing nature of consumer culture, particularly ethical consumption, culinary tourism and food-related health behaviour.
The study findings highlight the importance of community participation and ‘producer-consumer networks’ in the conduct of ethical consumption. In particular, issues such as ‘food provenance’ (proof of food origins and production processes), the perceived environmental and health benefits of consuming Slow Food, and an emphasis on the pleasures of convivial eating and ‘quality food’ were the dominant narratives conveyed by study participants.
Germov, J. & Williams, L. 2007, 'Slow Food in Australia: Glocalisation, Ethical Consumption and Health', TASA/SAANZ Joint Conference: Public Sociologies: Lessons and Trans-Tasman Comparison, Auckland, New Zealand, December 4-7.
Germov, J. & Williams, L. 2008, 'A Qualitative Study of Slow Food in Australia', TASA 2008 Conference: Re-imagining Sociology, University of Melbourne, December 2-5.
Two refereed journal papers in preparation: A journal article based on the above conference paper is in preparation. A second paper focussing on public health aspects is in early draft stage.
New research directions and further collaborative research: This project grant served as a pilot study for a planned larger ARC Linkage project. We are currently negotiating with project partners and have completed the research design of the grant, which involves focus groups with members of the Slow Food movement.