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Mobilising bodies: visceral identification in the Slow Food movement

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This paper introduces a visceral take on the role of identity in social movement mobilisation. The authors emphasise how identity goes beyond cognitive labels to implicate the entire minded-body. It is suggested that political ideas, beliefs and self definitions require a bodily kind of resonance in order to activate various kinds of environmental and social activism. The authors refer to this bodily resonance as ‘visceral processes of identification’ and, through empirical investigation with the Slow Food (SF) movement, they reveal specific instances of such processes at work. Examining SF in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Berkeley, California, USA, the authors ask how SF comes to feel in the bodies of members and non-members and they interrogate the role that feelings play in the development of activism(s). Bodies are shown to both align with movements’ socio-political aims and (re)create them. The account provides a means for shifting recent social theoretical attention to bodied/material life to a broad application in political geography, political ecology and social movement theory.
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Keywords: Slow Food movement; body; food; sensory-based methods; social movements; visceral geographies

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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