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Sociology: Research


'I should have been bloody Italian’: Jamie Oliver and the contradictory relationships between European identifications and EU membership

'I should have been bloody Italian’: Jamie Oliver and the contradictory relationships between European identifications and EU membership: FRIED /QMU Centre for Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Research Seminar
Speaker: Joanne Hollows # independent researcher; Introduced by: Dr Ana Tominc # Queen Margaret University
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Date and Time
21st Mar 2018 16:15 - 21st Mar 2018 17:45
Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh: room 0049 (ground floor, past the canteen)

Britain’s relationship to the EU has frequently been imagined through food, whether through the ‘straight bananas’ that signified EU interference or images of European migrant labour that sustains UK agricultural production. While there is clearly scope for wide-ranging research on the relationships between the EU referendum, Brexit and food, this paper aims to make a small contribution by examining how food celebrities impacted on debates about European belonging and EU membership. Focusing on Jamie Oliver, the paper identifies how our relationship to Europe and the EU is imagined in contradictory ways in the chef’s interventions across a range of news and entertainment media. For example, Oliver invites viewers to make cosmopolitan identifications with European food practices while representing EU regulations and bureaucracy as a threat to British food culture. The paper identifies how these contradictions not only echoed wider positions in pre-Referendum debates but also link to wider relationships between food, class and lifestyle.


Joanne is a freelance writer and researcher specializing in food cultures, domestic cultures and feminism and popular culture. Alongside her contributions to a wide range of academic journals, she is the author of several books and have edited many more (e.g. Feminism, Femininity and Popular Culture, Domestic Cultures, Food and Cultural Studies (with Bob Ashley, Steve Jones and Ben Taylor), Feminism in Popular Culture (with Rachel Moseley), Ordinary Lifestyles (with David Bell)). With a PhD in cultural studies, she has over 20 years full-time teaching experience in UK universities, most recently at Nottingham Trent University where she was a Reader in Media and Cultural Studies. 

Her current work focuses on the politics of food media and on feminism and consumer culture.