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Hail the Snail: Hegemonic Struggles in the Slow Food Movement

van Bommel, K. & Spicer, A. (2011). Hail the Snail: Hegemonic Struggles in the Slow Food Movement. Organization Studies, 32(12), pp. 1717-1744. doi: 10.1177/0170840611425722


This paper explores how new institutional fields are established and extended. We argue that they are created by social movements engaging in hegemonic struggles and which develop social movement strategies, articulate discourses and construct nodal points. We examine how this process played out during the creation and development of the Slow Food movement. We argue that the positioning of Slow Food as a new field was based particularly on using multiple strategies, increasing the stock of floating signifiers, and abstracting the nodal points used. This mobilized new actors and enabled a more extensive collective identity which allowed the movement to progress, extend, and elevate the field of Slow Food. The field of Slow Food was transformed from appealing only to gastronomes to becoming a broader field that encompassed social justice activists and environmentalists. This study contributes to the existing literature on field formation, the role of social movements in this process, and political dynamics within social movements. We focus on the importance of hegemony in the institutional processes around field formation by drawing out how Slow Food created a field through the forging of hegemonic links among a range of disparate actors.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2011
Publisher Keywords: Discourse analysis, hegemony, Laclau, Slow Food, social movements, resistance, media representations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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