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Mapping ethno-foodscapes in Australia

Gallegos, Danielle (2002) Mapping ethno-foodscapes in Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Until the middle of the twentieth century, Australian food was, with some occasional exceptions, purportedly unremarkable. Australia effectively inherited and maintained the staple British-Irish fare of "meat and two veg". Under a number of influences, however, including increased migration from diverse parts of the globe (especially Southern Europe and South-East Asia), Australia's foodscapes began to diversify. This new diversity is sometimes referred to as the "ethnicisation" of Australian cuisine.

The main contribution of this thesis is to map this process of "ethnicisation", to discover its logical geography. In doing this, it draws on primary historical materials and brings together secondary commentaries on and analyses of Australian foodscapes from such disparate fields as nutrition science, sociology, media studies and the newly emergent discipline of "gastronomy". In particular, the thread that draws these studies together is the central idea that food choice and consumption are critical aspects of what it is to be a "self" and a citizen in the increasingly globalised world of late modernity.

By identifying the problems and contradictions of late-modern selfhood — in particular, those associated with the public/private, global/local, risk/pleasure and universal/ particular dichotomies — the thesis argues that the diversification of Australian foodscapes has, in recent decades, fundamentally altered our sense of who we are today. That is, rather than food choice and consumption being a merely incidental raft of cultural practices, they are in fact critical "techniques of the self" aimed at producing (with varying degrees of success and failure) the well-balanced individual-citizen.

To this end, a number of important sites are discussed in historical and textual detail with respect to their encounters with ethnic diversity. These include: Australian cookbooks, and cooking magazines; the array of television programs dedicated to food and cooking; the various attempts to popularise "bush foods"; food advertising in magazines and on television; the supermarket and its uses; dining in restaurants; aspects of nutrition and health; and the specific case of the "Mediterranean diet".

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): McHoul, Alec, Coveney, John and Mansfield, Alan
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/51507
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