Seeing benevolently: Representational politics and digital race formation on ethnic food tour webpages

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Geoforum, 2017, 84 pp. 206 - 217
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd The aim of this paper is to extend studies of food media and racialisation by applying Nakamura's (2002, 2008) concepts of digital race formation and cybertype to the webpages of an ethnic food tour in southwestern Sydney. Whilst the literature on food media, and racialisation and food practices are burgeoning, little attention to date has been given to racialization and gendering on food websites, and particularly those for social enterprises, which have hybrid commercial and social aims. Given that Nakamura has focused on a range of new media but not webpages, we draw on analytic frameworks on visual racism from Van Leeuwen (2008) and interactivity and aesthetics by Adami (2014, 2015) to provide a detailed case study analysis of how the visual and verbal meaning-making strategies and the technological affordance of interactivity produce racialised and gendered cybertyping and Othering. Our analysis shows that racialised femininity is deployed to touristify a region seen by racist media to be criminalised, masculine and foreign. We conclude by arguing that methods for analysing meaning-making strategies in new media need to be developed in food studies and that food social enterprises should see their representational work as part of their social mission.
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