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The Political Language of Food

Edited by Samuel Boerboom - Contributions by Joe Abisaid; Jennifer Adams; Melissa Boehm; Samuel Boerboom; Kathy Brady; Cristin A. Compton; Leda Cooks; Ellen Gorsevski; Casey Ryan Kelly; Justin Killian; Megan A. Koch; Amy Pason and Jessica Prody

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The Political Language of Food addresses why the language used in the production, marketing, selling, and consumption of food is inherently political. Food language is rarely neutral and is often strategically vague, which tends to serve the interests of powerful entities.Boerboom and his contributors critique the language of food-based messages and examine how such language—including idioms, tropes, euphemisms, invented terms, etc.—serves to both mislead and obscure relationships between food and the resulting community, health, labor, and environmental impacts. Employing diverse methodologies, the contributors examine on a micro-level the textual and rhetorical elements of food-based language itself. The Political Language of Food is both timely and important and will appeal to scholars of media studies, political communication, and rhetoric. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 282Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-0555-0 • Hardback • May 2015 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4985-0557-4 • Paperback • April 2017 • $49.99 • (£32.95)
978-1-4985-0556-7 • eBook • May 2015 • $89.99 • (£60.00)
Samuel Boerboom is assistant professor of media studies in the Department of Communication and Theatre at Montana State University Billings.
Introduction: How does food language function politically?
Samuel Boerboom

Chapter 1Tracing the “Back to the Land” Trope: Self-Sufficiency, Counterculture, and Community
Jessica M. Prody

Chapter 2 Végétariens Radicaux: John Oswald and the Trope of Sympathy in Revolutionary Paris
Justin Killian

Chapter 3 The Revolution Will Not Be (Food) Reviewed: Politics of Agitation and Control of Occupy Kitchen
Amy Pason

Chapter 4 Haute Colonialism: Exocitizing Povery in Bizarre Foods America
Casey Ryan Kelly

Chapter 5 Pungent Yet Problematic: The Class-Based Framing of Ramps in the New York Times and the Charleston Gazette
Melissa Boehm

Chapter 6Constructing Taste and Waste as Habitus: Food and Matters of Access and In/Security
Leda Cooks

Chapter 7Tying the Knot: How Industry and Advocacy Organizations Market Language as Humane
Joseph L. Abisaid

Chapter 8Corn Allergy: Public Policy, Private Devastation
Kathy Brady

Chapter 9 Family Farms with Happy Cows: A Narrative Analysis of Horizon Organic Dairy Packaging Labels
Jennifer L. Adams

Chapter 10Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Meatwashing Propaganda: Corporate-Speak Hiding Suffering of “Commodity” Animals
Ellen W. Gorsevski

Chapter 11Corporate Colonization in the Market: Discursive Closures and the Greenwashing
of Food Discourse
Megan A. Koch and Cristin A. Compton

Chapter 12Mistaken Consensus and the Body-as-Machine Analogy
Samuel Boerboom
The Political Language of Food delights readers with a bountiful harvest of perspectives, theories, and problematics. No doubt, it will be mandatory reading for those interested in the intersection of food and language.
Justin Eckstein, Pacific Lutheran University


The Political Language of Food is a comprehensive collection of essays, with a variety of foci and approaches, which all reinforce the central tenet that if we truly want to understand how food functions politically, socially, culturally, and materially, we must begin by examining the murky depths of language, by dissecting the very words that we use to discuss it, and by interrogating the key meanings surrounding it
Carlnita P. Greene, University of Oregon, author of Gourmands and Gluttons: The Rhetoric of Food Excess


Emphasizing the political nature of food marketing and consumption, as well as the rhetorical construction of food language, The Political Language of Food…offers a multitude of methodological approaches to topics such as back-to-the-land food movements, culinary slumming, and the greenwashing of food discourse.
Laura K. Hahn, Humboldt State University


This book is extremely clear and will prove helpful for people interested in any subject relating to the (political) language involving food. It would work well for a classroom setting because it covers so many different perspectives. It is great for people to know about the discrepancies involving the food industry, with examples and individual stories. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for new perspectives on this concept.
Communication Research Trends


This collection of 12 essays focuses on the political contexts of producing, marketing, selling, and consuming food, as well as producing 'food language.' Each author approaches a major food-based issue, such as vegetarianism, obesity, or organic foods, by analyzing and deconstructing the language of food as the basis for his or her research methodology. Essays are organized into four sections: 'The Language of Food-Based Social Movements,' 'Food Language and Social Class,' 'The Language of Food Labeling,' and 'Critiques of Corporate Bureaucratic Language.' All contributors are communications, media, or rhetoric professors; though authors from a narrow range of disciplines may support the editor’s thematic emphasis, their homogeneity may prove a weakness when they write about the interdisciplinary field of food studies. . . .Readers will enjoy the provocative essay 'Exoticizing Poverty in Bizarre Foods America.' This anthology can serve classes in sociology, anthropology, geography, marketing, communications, and food studies. For university libraries or large public libraries. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers/faculty, and professionals/practitioners.
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