Escaping the big box store: examining change, gastrotourism, and provisioning at Findlay Market, Cincinnati, OH
Lisa Beiswenger (The Ohio State University)
Paper short abstract:
Findlay Market, established in 1852, has evolved from a locus for provisioning to a mecca for gastrotourists while maintaining a balance between attracting tourists and selling products that remain true to its heritage as a place for neighborhood residents to satisfy their food shopping needs.
Paper long abstract:
In this paper, we explore how producers, vendors, and consumers construct cultural meaning at Findlay Market in Cincinnati, OH. This market, established in 1852 as a place for local producers to sell their wares, has evolved from exclusively a locus for provisioning to a site with a robust tourist trade. As this urban market evolved, management had to maintain a balance between features that will attract tourists while also selling products that remain true to this historic landmark's heritage as a place for neighborhood residents to interact with producers and satisfy their food shopping needs. Additionally, we explore the perspective of the vendors who, by selling in these spaces, add a perception of added value to their wares. Consumers often feel a connection to the producers in these spaces and feel that they are creating a long-term buyer/seller relationship by purchasing from particular sellers. From the Durkheimian perspective, the public market circumvents the fear of not knowing the producer. From a Marxist perspective, the public market circumvents the idea of the alienation of the producer and the goods produced. These spaces accomplish this in two ways, either by providing a location where producers and consumers may interact or by creating the perception that the vendors have a connection to the production in some way. We are going beyond these symbolic and materialist perspectives to look at the agency model of production, exchange, and consumption.
"Bring back my neighbourhood!": heritage, expressive cultures and the production of urban ambiances for tourist consumption in the contemporary city