Hail the snail: hegemonic struggles in the Slow Food movement

Since the early 1990s, many commentators have argued that the dominance of malbouffe (bad food) has a variety of negative consequences.

For instance, it is ruinous for farmers, results in dangerous and low paid jobs for food processors, has disastrous environmental consequences for communities, results in poor diets with associated health consequences for consumers and, above all, creates disenchantment with the experience of cooking and eating.

Some groups have sought to challenge bad food through the development of movements such as organic food and fair trade food. These food movements have crafted 'distinctive 'rules of the game', relational networks and resource distributions that differentiate multiple levels of actors and models for action'.

For some time, researchers have puzzled over how new fields are created. Some have suggested that they arise from the structures of existing fields, whilst others emphasise the importance of strategic action on the part of the various groups seeking to establish new fields.

The research in this paper focuses on the argument that new fields are created by social movements engaging in hegemonic struggles and which develop social movement strategies, articulate discourses and construct nodal points. This idea is examined by looking at how this process played out during the creation and development of the Slow Food movement.

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