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Slow food : a globalized social movement with an anti-globalization mission

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Title:Slow food : a globalized social movement with an anti-globalization mission
Authors:Springer, Alexandra
Date Issued:May 2011
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2011]
Abstract:This research utilized the Slow Food Movement (SFM) as a case study to explore how a social movement transformed as it expanded to become a transnational movement. It examines the interconnectedness of a transnational social movement that emerged in Europe and expanded globally. Methods included the systematic analysis of newsletters, e-mails, flyers, websites, the Slow Food USA blog, newspaper articles and brochures, complemented by interviews and talks with leaders of the local Tucson chapter and participant observation at local and national events.
Findings demonstrate that the political climate during the 1960s facilitated the spread of the original ideas of the SFM via brokerage and loose networks. However, in order to make the shift from the local to the global sphere, the SFM made the choice of implementing a hierarchical structure in which the top tier is solely in charge without consulting the local. Since this movement's mission is anti-globalization in nature (i.e. it is against the notion of imposing universal principles onto the local), the shift to the global accomplished by implementing an anti-democratic organizational structure goes against the very principles this movement claims to uphold. Structurally the Slow Food Movement reflects a global movement and it furthermore promotes itself to appear as one coherent movement by the employment of a global, anti-globalization frame through individual mission statements and by a unity of display in the physical layouts of the various SFM websites. While structurally the local convivia and the national Slow Food levels are indeed parts of a large, hierarchical SFM, the individual levels are able to symbolically distance themselves from the notion of the "global" by distributing level appropriate messages.
Through intentionally created advocacy networks reflected as projects and organizations (e.g. Terra Madre, Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, Presidia and the Ark of Taste) a transnational network exists through which information is exchanged on a regular basis; however, coordinated tactics or joint mobilization across national borders could not be observed. Hence, the global position of the SFM is only a theoretical or symbolic position. Furthermore, the findings in this study highlight the importance of the organizational infrastructure as resource mobilization for social movements that shift beyond the local. The SFM purposely shifted from loose networks to an organizational hierarchy, resulting in a professional movement tied together through special created advocacy networks. This organizational structure leading to a professional social movement was a purposely-applied tactic to bring together a number of conscience constituencies that collaborate for the goals and mission of the movement. Nevertheless, while the various groups and projects share similar objectives, they are small, segmented, and autonomous cells that work on very specific local or national levels. The findings stress the persistent significance of the local and national level of social movements.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Sociology

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