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UAL Research Online

The austerity larder: Mapping food systems in a new age of austerity

Bramall, Rebecca (2015) The austerity larder: Mapping food systems in a new age of austerity. Journal of Consumer Culture, 15 (2). pp. 183-201. ISSN 1469-5405

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Bramall, Rebecca

Themes of rationing, scarcity and frugality have become increasingly prominent in UK food discourses of recent years, and the historical period of ‘austerity Britain’ (1939-54) has proved to be a key symbolic resource in these debates. This article considers the conjunction of food, culture and ‘austerity’, and explores how austerity discourse might inform British consumers’ understanding of global food systems. It notes that critical work on commodity de/fetishization tends to focus on geographical knowledges, and seeks to complement this research by attending to the role that historical resources play in rendering food commodity systems intelligible. Through an analysis of an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum London, and in particular the iconographic site of the ‘austerity larder’, the article considers the extent to which austerity discourse offers a legible index of food commodity chains, raises questions about fragility of supply, and makes food scarcity visible. The analysis reveals some of the ways in which historical geographies of consumption may shape consumer imaginaries. The article concludes by identifying some of the issues that arise from the recourse to history, and by arguing for further attention to the symbolic work that historical resources perform in contemporary consumer culture.

Official Website: http://joc.sagepub.com/content/15/2/183
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Cultural theory
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Sage
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 24 July 2015
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2016 15:16
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2016 15:16
Item ID: 9684
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/9684

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