This paper explores the case of food startups in Italy, focusing on how startuppers produce and articulate an economic imaginary (Jessop & Sum, 2001) in order to qualify (Callon et al., 2002) their new high technological products and services in new food economy (Hinrichs, 2000). The objective is to understand what kind of narrative startuppers produce in online domain and what are the frames of meaning that legitimize and singularize their products and services in new food economy. The 'quality turn' (Goodman, 2003) represent the turning point from industrial food provisioning towards quality and it is based on the premise that the Green Revolution (Borlaug et all, 1969) produce negative impacts on different dimensions such as human health, environment and civic rights. Producers and consumers find themselves in precarious positions in the “Food from Somewhere” (McMichael, 2009) commodity chains which are construct around the interests of the global agri-food retailers. A new regime of alternativeness (Jones et all, 2010) and innovation point out the necessity to regulate the quality dimension of the new value chains based on organic products and geographic indicators. These movements “aims to build 'local food systems,' based on ecological analyses such as watersheds, sustainable farming, seasonality, heritage of biodiversity, and cultural preferences” (Starr, 2010, p. 484). The quality food dimensions (Harvey et al, 2004) are linked to the relationship established with the local territories and regional cultural traditions. This implies an increasing attention to quality food chain, power relations, social and environmental impacts. These aspects are debated in Italy where food cultures are verbally fed (Colombo et al., 2014). The information as the distance travelled by food, the place, the identity of producers and the fairness in the value chain, become the central aspects in business organisation and also in public opinion. The European project GLAMUR identified three narratives that arise on Italian new food economy: one is the ‘technological innovation for global competition’, the second is ‘local sustainability and justice’, and the last is the ‘glocal perspective’. In these emerging perspective the quality food become not simply fashionable, but a possible alternative market option for an increasing number of producers and consumers. Within this alternative food economy emerge a new kind of enterprise (Kinsey, 2003) which operate in so-called “knowledge economy” (Powell and Snellman, 2004). They operate in the post-fordist environment and they do not simply reshape the circuits of accumulation of conventional agri-food system but they propose different architectures of the relation among producers-consumers. Startups (Ries, 2011) intend to overcome the modern agro-industrial model and reconfigure the material infrastructure proposing new products or services. They move from an economy base on the production of physical goods to an economy base on the production and application of knowledge where assets are knowledge-based and intangible (Kinsey, 2001). According to the aims of this paper we adopt a digital methods approach (Marres, 2012) which consists in a digital ethnography elaborate within a qualitative framework which allow us to analyzing the online domain where startuppers promote their economic activities using digital media. This study is conducted considering the narrative production on Twitter of the most relevant Italian agri-tech startups in new food economy. We adopt a digital discourses analysis framework (Caliandro, 2014) which considers social media as a sites of social-cultural practice, which are simultaneously constitutive of “social identities, social relations, systems of knowledge and belief” (Fairclough, 1995, p. 55). This methodological approach enables also us to map the relationship among startuppers and understand how consumers interact with them and how they co-produce a common narration. Our preliminary results point out that startuppers emphasize three main characteristics of food: quality, territory and innovation. These information, declined through different dimensions such as traceability, transparency, authenticity and localness, becoming a discursive pre-condition for an agro-food system based on economic sustainability, social justices and environmental health. It intends to creates discursively an ethical and disintermediated online food market, where the products or services in new food economy are not qualify only by economic aspects, but also are founded on social and cultural dimensions.

Startups in new food economy: imagined economies and food culture in online sphere / V. Luise. ((Intervento presentato al 12. convegno Food Organizing Matters: Paradoxes, Problems and Potentialities tenutosi a Chania nel 2017.

Startups in new food economy: imagined economies and food culture in online sphere

V. Luise
2017

Abstract

This paper explores the case of food startups in Italy, focusing on how startuppers produce and articulate an economic imaginary (Jessop & Sum, 2001) in order to qualify (Callon et al., 2002) their new high technological products and services in new food economy (Hinrichs, 2000). The objective is to understand what kind of narrative startuppers produce in online domain and what are the frames of meaning that legitimize and singularize their products and services in new food economy. The 'quality turn' (Goodman, 2003) represent the turning point from industrial food provisioning towards quality and it is based on the premise that the Green Revolution (Borlaug et all, 1969) produce negative impacts on different dimensions such as human health, environment and civic rights. Producers and consumers find themselves in precarious positions in the “Food from Somewhere” (McMichael, 2009) commodity chains which are construct around the interests of the global agri-food retailers. A new regime of alternativeness (Jones et all, 2010) and innovation point out the necessity to regulate the quality dimension of the new value chains based on organic products and geographic indicators. These movements “aims to build 'local food systems,' based on ecological analyses such as watersheds, sustainable farming, seasonality, heritage of biodiversity, and cultural preferences” (Starr, 2010, p. 484). The quality food dimensions (Harvey et al, 2004) are linked to the relationship established with the local territories and regional cultural traditions. This implies an increasing attention to quality food chain, power relations, social and environmental impacts. These aspects are debated in Italy where food cultures are verbally fed (Colombo et al., 2014). The information as the distance travelled by food, the place, the identity of producers and the fairness in the value chain, become the central aspects in business organisation and also in public opinion. The European project GLAMUR identified three narratives that arise on Italian new food economy: one is the ‘technological innovation for global competition’, the second is ‘local sustainability and justice’, and the last is the ‘glocal perspective’. In these emerging perspective the quality food become not simply fashionable, but a possible alternative market option for an increasing number of producers and consumers. Within this alternative food economy emerge a new kind of enterprise (Kinsey, 2003) which operate in so-called “knowledge economy” (Powell and Snellman, 2004). They operate in the post-fordist environment and they do not simply reshape the circuits of accumulation of conventional agri-food system but they propose different architectures of the relation among producers-consumers. Startups (Ries, 2011) intend to overcome the modern agro-industrial model and reconfigure the material infrastructure proposing new products or services. They move from an economy base on the production of physical goods to an economy base on the production and application of knowledge where assets are knowledge-based and intangible (Kinsey, 2001). According to the aims of this paper we adopt a digital methods approach (Marres, 2012) which consists in a digital ethnography elaborate within a qualitative framework which allow us to analyzing the online domain where startuppers promote their economic activities using digital media. This study is conducted considering the narrative production on Twitter of the most relevant Italian agri-tech startups in new food economy. We adopt a digital discourses analysis framework (Caliandro, 2014) which considers social media as a sites of social-cultural practice, which are simultaneously constitutive of “social identities, social relations, systems of knowledge and belief” (Fairclough, 1995, p. 55). This methodological approach enables also us to map the relationship among startuppers and understand how consumers interact with them and how they co-produce a common narration. Our preliminary results point out that startuppers emphasize three main characteristics of food: quality, territory and innovation. These information, declined through different dimensions such as traceability, transparency, authenticity and localness, becoming a discursive pre-condition for an agro-food system based on economic sustainability, social justices and environmental health. It intends to creates discursively an ethical and disintermediated online food market, where the products or services in new food economy are not qualify only by economic aspects, but also are founded on social and cultural dimensions.
Settore SPS/08 - Sociologia dei Processi Culturali e Comunicativi
Startups in new food economy: imagined economies and food culture in online sphere / V. Luise. ((Intervento presentato al 12. convegno Food Organizing Matters: Paradoxes, Problems and Potentialities tenutosi a Chania nel 2017.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/598479
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