Globalization: From Food to Non-Food

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Prominentenzimmer (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sergey KRAVCHENKO, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University), Russia
Food is nutrition containing at least four components: first, cooked bio-natural substance that performs the reproduction of physical and mental human functionality; second, an identifier and marker of class and that influences peoples’ choice of meals; third,  the institutionalized cultural values and norms governing the essence of the diet and the actual human relations; forth, socio-cultural discourse that operates on all individuals who undertake to speak in this discursive field. Under the consequences of globalization, according to G. Ritzer, there emerged “nothing” and correspondingly “non-food” – both refer to a social form that is generally centrally conceived, controlled, and comparatively devoid of distinctive substantive content and make sense only when paired with “something” (in our case food) – a social form that is generally indigenously conceived, controlled, and comparatively rich in distinctive substantive content.  However, in the global world no meals are either totally individualized or completely devoid of individuality, and this implies a continuum from food to non-food. 

Non-food is mainly produced by the following factors: 1) globalization has led to the emergence of culturally “borderless” foods. There have appeared transnational network enterprises producing flows of non-foods overcoming barriers of countries and boundaries of their places of origin; 2)  non-food (hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, etc.) is being produced all over the world in national local forms; 3) food is quickly losing its indigenous, homelike character becoming more universal and standardized, thus acquiring the essence of non-food; 4) genetic changes of bio-natural food substances with predetermined quantitative and qualitative parameters that are globally produced and controlled. This has given birth to alien-products as opposed to ecologically friendly foods; 5) there have emerged centrally conceived and controlled performative non-food; 6) all these processes have led to detraditionalization of food which is being replaced by non-food.