Accepted Papers:

Street food and other foodiescapes as means of staging the middle class in Bucharest  

Author:

Monica Stroe (National University of Political Studies and Public Administration Bucharest)

Paper Short Abstract:

The new cosmopolitan, burger-centred, urban foodscape is contributing to the articulation of a new class of casual gourmet consumers who use their foodie knowledge to create distinction and to make claims to a new urbanity.

Paper long abstract:

Gourmet street food and fast-casual restaurants are quickly becoming mainstays of Eastern European urban food culture. The new cosmopolitan, burger-centred, urban foodscape is contributing to the articulation of a new class of casual gourmet consumers who use their foodie knowledge to create distinction and to make claims to a new urbanity. Street food provides a terrain for the public articulation of taste and the reshaping of the city's geography and eating out practices. The research looks at food as a material boundary of class and seeks to describe a segment of Bucharest's professional middle class who invest in food practices as one of the main means of self-actualisation. My research interest is centred on the localisation of foodie taste and on the local geography of spaces of consumption that cater for these tastes, in an attempt to describe a foodie consumer portfolio informed by aspirations to minimalism and authenticity. Is street food a means to democratise the urban foodscape? Does it bring about urban revitalisation and social inclusion? What other values are attached to these consumption practices? What are the ethics and aesthetics of gourmet street food and how are they localised?

Panel P032
New urban food practices and the senses in the city [Anthropology of Food]