Accepted paper:

Sharing, including, excluding? "food initiatives" - culinary collectives and people's kitchens in Poland


Joanna Krukowska (University of Gdansk)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to share research results conducted in Poland addressing the subject of "food initiatives" in the chosen Polish cities, and is focused on social practice, sharing food and space, class context, the creation of new social forms and its inclusive /exclusive character.

Paper long abstract:

My research is focused on different collective activities connected with preparing and sharing food in Polish cities. Depending on various forms of organization and auto-identifications they are called "people's kitchens" or "culinary/eating collectives". These activities are often organized by informal groups in a public space of the city and include social events opened for external participants. The distinctive feature of these initiatives is that sharing food goes beyond established social structures and cultural or religious traditions. They are also different from commercial entrepreneurship and does not bring any profit to the organisers. They usually demand private investments of time, work, money and often are based on using private kitchens. It can, therefore, be said that they go beyond the known forms of economic organisation and are a new social phenomenon linked to new urban lifestyles and could contribute to different dimensions of social and cultural change. The members of food initiatives are mostly young adults with ambiguous class positions: they have high cultural and social capital and low economic capital, which is characteristic of Poland due to its political history. My goal is both to recognize detailed forms of such practices and theoretically explain their possible meanings, that can be articulated also in broader axiological, economic and socio-political terms. I will try to reflect on the class context of initiatives: in what sense do initiatives concern the privileged or disadvantaged in the system (relatively new capitalism in Poland)? What is the potential of food initiatives to be "inclusive" and "exclusive"?

panel P018
The sharing economy: sharing with whom, sharing what and sharing for what purpose?