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Sociology: Research


Beef, beer, and bannocks: Scotland's food and drink in media and marketing

Beef, beer, and bannocks: Scotland's food and drink in media and marketing
Speaker: Dr Christine Knight # University of Edinburgh; Speaker: Dr Joy Fraser # George Mason University; Speaker: Dr Ana Tominc # Queen Margaret University
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Date and Time
24th Oct 2017 14:00 - 24th Oct 2017 18:30
Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary St, Edinburgh EH1 1LT

This half-day workshop will include presentations from Dr Christine Knight, University of Edinburgh; Dr Joy Fraser, George Mason University; and Dr Ana Tominc, Queen Margaret University. The talks will be followed by time for a lively discussion on how Scotland's food and drink is represented in culture, media, and marketing - and why this matters.

As well as attendance from FRIED members and other researchers (including students), we warmly welcome registrations from those in other sectors working on Scotland's food and drink. Please note that presentations and discussion will run 2.00-5.15pm, followed by a drinks reception 5.15-6.30pm.

This is a free event but places are limited. Registration is via Eventbrite:

Presentation details:

Dr Christine Knight, University of Edinburgh. The travelogue cooking show in a sub-state nation: Representing Scotland in British food television

Food television offers a new and unique lens onto national identity, the Anglo-Scottish relationship, and their cultural representation in contemporary Britain. This paper is based on an analysis of key British travelogue cooking shows about Scotland and its food, first broadcast between 1993 and 2011. The programmes analysed exemplify and reinforce longstanding cultural constructions of the relationship between England and Scotland, as well as illustrating and creating new national scripts, notably in relation to class and gender. These cooking shows consistently associate Scotland with a defined set of local and traditional foods, closely associated with a Romantic construction of Scotland, its history, and landscape. However the programmes also indicate wider changes in British and Scottish food culture during this period, including the rise of the local food movement, and the increasing economic success and cultural confidence of the Scottish food and drink industry. The paper highlights the role of celebrity chefs in the cultural construction of contemporary British sub-state national relationships.

Dr Joy Fraser. ‘Lean, fit, and very tasty’: Sex, health, and nation in Quality Meat Scotland’s Scotch Beef marketing campaign

In 2001, Quality Meat Scotland, the organisation responsible for promoting Scotland’s red meat industry, introduced a new marketing campaign for its Specially Selected Scotch Beef brand. The campaign featured ‘Glen,’ a handsome, clean-living, kilted Highlander whose physical fitness and sexual desirability are attributed to his unpolluted natural environment and fresh, nutritious diet. TV ads contrasted Glen’s lifestyle and surroundings with those of city-dweller ‘John,’ who spends his days playing video games and eating takeaway deep-fried fish and chips. The ads invite viewers to weigh up the two men’s bodies as objects of consumption at multiple levels; a key aim of the campaign was to persuade consumers beyond Scotland that Scotch Beef’s superior quality makes it worth a premium price. While ‘tasty’ Glen engages in wholesome activities such as hiking, chopping wood, ceilidh dancing, and home cooking, the shameful state of John’s body is depicted as the product of his own indolence and slovenliness, eliciting viewers’ contempt and even disgust. By foregrounding Glen’s robust physique and healthful living as markers of his Scottishness in contradistinction to John’s abject body, the ads obscure the deep-rooted socioeconomic and public health inequalities that have contributed to Scotland’s reputation as the ‘sick man’ of Europe.

Dr Ana Tominc, Queen Margaret University. Understanding food and national identity in media and culture

What can media, marketing, and popular culture tell us about the relationship between food, drink, and national identity? This presentation will respond to the two previous papers, and compare the situation in Scotland with elsewhere in Europe. In particular, the case of Slovenia offers helpful parallels and contrasts as a small European nation-state. It draws on Dr Tominc’s forthcoming book on celebrity chefs, class, and lifestyle in post-socialist Slovenia (John Benjamins, 2017).

Note there is a change of speaker since the event was originally advertised, as Dr Anna de Jong (University of Surrey) unfortunately had to withdraw.