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You are what you Instagram: clean eating and the symbolic representation of food.

Baker, S.A. ORCID: 0000-0002-4921-2456 and Walsh, M.J. (2020). You are what you Instagram: clean eating and the symbolic representation of food. In: Digital Food Cultures. (pp. 53-68). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. ISBN 9781138392595

Abstract

Food and dietary choices operate as a central mode of identification, a way to define the self in relation to what we consume. These modes of identity are increasingly communicated on Instagram using digital photography to present the self visually online. In this chapter we explore the meanings and discourses around ‘clean eating’ on social media. We perform visual content analysis of food images on Instagram to examine the social and cultural meanings of clean eating and food. Drawing upon and developing cultural approaches to social interaction, we employ the concept of the ‘affirmation ritual’ to understand how status and identity are established online. We argue that eating practices and preferences are displayed on Instagram to represent an ideal self to one’s social network. Despite the capacity for user-generated content to resist and reframe social identities, we contend that the curation of clean eating practices on Instagram reinforces the relationship between diet, status, gender and identity.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Digital Food Cultures on 17 March 2020, available online: https://www.routledge.com/Digital-Food-Cultures-1st-Edition/Lupton-Feldman/p/book/9781138392595
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
T Technology > TX Home economics
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2020 08:25
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23884
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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