Champagne and Caviar for all? Exploring the juxtaposition of gourmet culture with social justice activism and transitions within the Slow Food movement

Class Year


Access Type

Archival Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Independent Program

First Advisor

Candice Lowe-­‐Swift

Second Advisor

Carol Christensen


As issues of food and agriculture enter the mainstream culture of the United States, the number of passionate supporters of efforts to change the industrial food system is growing steadily. However, those at the helm of the movement are conflicted about what issues need to be prioritized as well as how systemic change is to be accomplished. Using the international nonprofit organization Slow Food as a case study, this paper examines the tensions that exist within the movement as well as their origins. Slow Food’s juxtaposition of gourmet culture and social justice activism is addressed through exploring issues of elitism, privilege and democracy in the contemporary effort to change the industrialized food system. In examining the tensions within Slow Food as an organization, the broader food movement is captured in a moment of transition, the tenets of gourmet culture are examined for the ways in which they are complicit in the many inequalities addressed through social justice activism, and the viability of an evolving movement rooted in gastronomic distinction is assessed.

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