Call for Submissions: Special Issue of Food, Culture and Society

Two more papers are sought to be part of a themed issue titled ‘Eating in the City’ for the journal Food, Culture and Society. The themed issue is interdisciplinary and contributions focusing on Asian cities or Asian migration in cities are welcomed. If you are interested to submit a paper, please contact Kelvin Low (kelvinlow [at] and Elaine Ho (elaine.ho [at] before 31 January 2016.

Timeline: first drafts by April 2016 with anticipated publication date in 2017

Food plays a central role in everyday social life. Taken together, food and foodways constitute the manner in which people relate to urban space and to one other. As cities transform, the ways that people eat and procure food also change, along with the sociocultural meanings of food itself. The multifarious ways in which food has shaped and continues to shape our lives socially, economically, politically, morally and nutritionally attest to the importance of studying gastronomic practices that connect people across regions, time, and social groups. The mobility of different communities and their accompanying foodways also impact upon how eating cultures in host societies are transformed and reorganized.

If the city is a site of gastronomic production, consumption, and exchange, how do such urban social spheres relate to shifting identities for social actors when foodways traverse both different cities and across borders? Is there a discernible urban ethos and subscription to modernizing forces that thereby influence how foodways are enacted, modified, and transformed?

By reflecting upon the role that food plays in human relations and across different spaces, this proposed special issue serves as a platform towards unravelling the enduring everyday culinary habits, rituals, creativity, and sensory experiences that are collectively used to nurture shared senses of cultural identity and economic livelihoods. In so doing, the special issue brings food studies into dialogue with key debates on diversity, conviviality, nostalgia, urbanization and modernization found in the disciplines of anthropology, cultural studies, history, geography, sociology and urban studies. Through connective, comparative, and historical perspectives, academics and urban stakeholders can together articulate a deeper meaning of food in cities so as to encourage stakeholders to consider its cultural significance as well as the economic centrality it represents to migrant communities and food enthusiasts.

The papers in the special issue deliberate upon three key lines of inquiry:

1. How do people perceive their positioning in the urban social order through their culinary practices, particularly amid the urban manifestations of global political-economic restructuring and sociocultural change?

2. How do the politics and sensescapes of gastronomy relate to the transformation and redevelopment of urban spaces? How is modern urban life shaped by immigration and migratory foodways?

3. Most pertinently, we ask, how are processes related to food and foodways, senses and urban change intertwined?


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