Food is now fashionable, a social phenomenon that interests consumers and represents their lifestyles. The aim of this essay is to analyse the representation of food in leading television programmes. It takes shape from the premise that since food is an element of material culture and therefore a vehicle of postmodern culture, it both symbolizes and is the result of a process of transformation that follows the guidelines of the concept of simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1976; Viviani, 2008). Does the representation of food in these television programmes confirm this vision of food? Does the representation of food in the media comply with the logic of the simulacrum? The study uses the characteristic aspects of the concept of simulacrum (Viviani, 2008), to compare two different food - based television genres: traditional cookery programmes and cooking shows. These were chosen because they are the most representative broadcasts and have high viewing figures. The results highlighted that food is a simulacrum in the most recent kind of cooking programme (referred to here as shows). In general, food clearly enjoys strong autonomy with regard to context. As food and cooking are impersonal decontextualized components, the way that they are reproduced is mediated and unnatural, carefully planned as part of games and strategies typically used in the media world. Food is not experienced or reproduced as such, but becomes a trick to focus attention on the importance of pleasure, power, astuteness, cleverness and beaut y. It is therefore clear that this attempt to reproduce reality has been formulated and carefully planned in order to eliminate what is deemed not to be of interest to the viewer, what does not comply with the broadcast times. This falsity in the form of predetermination derives from the intention to maintain a high level of audience interest and thereby create a process of programme loyalty that keeps the viewer glued to the screen, with the idea of seeking entertainment and ongoing excitement. Its value is no longer anchored in the material dimension of taste and is more closely related to its appearance and symbolic meaning (food -diet; food -nature; food -beauty). The result is an interesting connection with the virtual world, to the point where food is not experienced or reproduced as such, but pertains to lifestyles grounded in pleasure, excitement, power, astuteness, cleverness and beauty. In keeping with literature on the subject, this study confirms the growing interest in food that is related to the field of wellbeing and the current economic dynamics. What is interesting to ascertain is that, like many other elements of postmodern society (Viviani, 2008), food is the result of a process of simulation that is increasingly leading us towards a hyperreal construction of society through dynamics that involve people and influence their lifestyles, daily lives and the way in which they represent themselves to others.

Food, mass media and lifestyles. A hyperreal correlation

VIVIANI, Debora
2013-01-01

Abstract

Food is now fashionable, a social phenomenon that interests consumers and represents their lifestyles. The aim of this essay is to analyse the representation of food in leading television programmes. It takes shape from the premise that since food is an element of material culture and therefore a vehicle of postmodern culture, it both symbolizes and is the result of a process of transformation that follows the guidelines of the concept of simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1976; Viviani, 2008). Does the representation of food in these television programmes confirm this vision of food? Does the representation of food in the media comply with the logic of the simulacrum? The study uses the characteristic aspects of the concept of simulacrum (Viviani, 2008), to compare two different food - based television genres: traditional cookery programmes and cooking shows. These were chosen because they are the most representative broadcasts and have high viewing figures. The results highlighted that food is a simulacrum in the most recent kind of cooking programme (referred to here as shows). In general, food clearly enjoys strong autonomy with regard to context. As food and cooking are impersonal decontextualized components, the way that they are reproduced is mediated and unnatural, carefully planned as part of games and strategies typically used in the media world. Food is not experienced or reproduced as such, but becomes a trick to focus attention on the importance of pleasure, power, astuteness, cleverness and beaut y. It is therefore clear that this attempt to reproduce reality has been formulated and carefully planned in order to eliminate what is deemed not to be of interest to the viewer, what does not comply with the broadcast times. This falsity in the form of predetermination derives from the intention to maintain a high level of audience interest and thereby create a process of programme loyalty that keeps the viewer glued to the screen, with the idea of seeking entertainment and ongoing excitement. Its value is no longer anchored in the material dimension of taste and is more closely related to its appearance and symbolic meaning (food -diet; food -nature; food -beauty). The result is an interesting connection with the virtual world, to the point where food is not experienced or reproduced as such, but pertains to lifestyles grounded in pleasure, excitement, power, astuteness, cleverness and beauty. In keeping with literature on the subject, this study confirms the growing interest in food that is related to the field of wellbeing and the current economic dynamics. What is interesting to ascertain is that, like many other elements of postmodern society (Viviani, 2008), food is the result of a process of simulation that is increasingly leading us towards a hyperreal construction of society through dynamics that involve people and influence their lifestyles, daily lives and the way in which they represent themselves to others.
food; mass media; hyperreality; simulacrum
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/663162
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