Enacting "the local" in culinary tourism: A study of culinary actors and their practices

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

Abstract

As the competition between destinations grows, the need to stand out and offer memorable and unique experiences also grows. Culinary experiences and activities with elements of “the local” are a growing niche, which mirrors the trend of knowing where the food originates, and that it has been grown, produced, and transported in an ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable way. To be able as a visitor to get close to the products and the producers by participating in the production process adds an additional dimension to the experience. In Sweden and other Nordic countries, the movement around the New Nordic Kitchen has fed the rising attention on the local crops, production methods, and traditions, and “the local” has thus developed as a way of enhancing the culinary experience through recent years. The local as a means of culinary tourism is a phenomenon which is visible in several contexts, as in the form of small-scale producer networks, as well as in regional and national efforts, politically as well as commercially. To the culinary actors the notion of the local seems to be something that connects the common interests and desires to offer unique and attractive food experiences. A certain “taken-for-grantedness” has thereby emerged around the local as something good and positive, not just in an environmental perspective, but even socially and culturally.

The overall aim of this thesis is to study how culinary tourism is enacted as an economic, social, and cultural activity, through the notion of “the local”. The vision of Sweden – a new culinary nation, and a culinary tourism producer network in Southern Sweden act as examples of this process. The empirical data was collected by an ethnographic approach, through observations, conversations/interviews and the study of various documents. Taking a practice theoretical perspective, the thesis analyses how the local in culinary tourism is enacted in three practice-bundles: framing the ideal culinary destination, organising culinary tourism, and performing the local in culinary tourism. The analysis demonstrates how the local is enacted as a combination of acts such as positioning a culinary tourism profile, staging of culinary products and experiences, negotiating what or whom should be included in a culinary network, or ways of talking about the local as a part of rural policy, ways of designing food tours, or specific uses of local food products and other items in culinary activities. The thesis contributes to understanding the processes involved with the planning and performing of tourism experiences and activities, as well as the complexities therein. Thereby different tensions that emerge in this vein also become visible, such as tensions between the local and non-local, the commercial and ideal, as well as the physical and more abstract elements linked to the local.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

Keywords

  • culinary tourism, food experiences, the local, local food, tourism production, practice theory, social practices, destination branding, culinary actors, rural food experiences, ethnography
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2020 Feb 7
Place of PublicationLund
Publisher
  • Lunds universitet
Print ISBNs978-91-7895-354-7
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7895-355-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 7
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2020-02-07 Time: 13:15 Place: Campus Helsingborg, U203 External reviewer(s) Name: Sundbo, Jon Title: Professor Affiliation: Centre for Experience and Tourism Research, Roskilde University, Denmark ---

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