Cosmopolitans of regionalism: dealers of omnivorous taste under Italian food truck economic imaginary

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Abstract

Cultural omnivorousness has gained relevance as a suitable theory to explain contemporary patterns of consumption, but the actual dealing of omnivorous taste by economic actors and businesses has been mostly overlooked. Through ethnographic research, this article explores how Italian gourmet food truck operators concretely produce claims of authenticity for omnivorous seekers. First, the adoption of the perspective of food truck operators highlights the reflexive and market-bounded nature of the omnivorous taste reproduction. Moreover, “being authentic” becomes an imperative for tastemakers, imposed by the economic imaginary. Finally, the centrality of regionalism in the Italian production of authenticity suggests that localism, too, has been subsumed by global food imaginaries and that regionalism expresses a cosmopolitan attitude. Taken together, these findings allow the integration of existing theory of food cultural omnivorousness: “gourmet” food must be authentic to be recognised by omnivores and distinctive to be successful on markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-53
Number of pages24
JournalConsumption, Markets and Culture
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Authenticity
  • cultural omnivorousness
  • economic imaginary
  • food
  • taste
  • taste dealers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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