Food blogs as meaningful consumption histories

Tonner, Andrea (2012) Food blogs as meaningful consumption histories. In: british sociological association annual conference, 2012-04-11 - 2012-04-13. (Unpublished)

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Many works have looked at the symbolic value of cookbooks and tended to privileged personal food journals over printed materials. Family and personal cookbooks are argued to describe not only how to create foods but also tell important identity stories; they contain rich autobiographical and social information which is closely linked to individuals and reflexive of their lives. This study considers the food blog as an extension of this work. There are estimated to be at least 151 million food blogs globally, mostly individually authored accounts of meals prepared for family and friends, they provide rich retrospective accounts of the blogger’s food consumption practices. This study focuses upon the 169 blogs within the food group of, a membership blog site which encourages daily posts supplemented with photography. It employs a combination of netnographic analysis of the blog posts and narrative interview with individual bloggers. It considers that these blogs represent a personal consumption history of a type never previously accessible, the posts’ everyday nature means that they act not only as a symbolic display of idealised food identities but also tell deeper tales of the more mundane facets of family life and feeding. It reflects upon identity and self within sociology of consumption and how this may be evidenced within the consumption accounts in blog posts. It considers the emerging field of neo-tribal consumption and considers the extent to which the studied bloggers consider their posts to be individual tales vs. contribution to a virtual community.