Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 405–415 | Cite as

The logic of the gift: the possibilities and limitations of Carlo Petrini’s slow food alternative

Article

Abstract

The majority of literature on Slow Food focuses on the organization or actors involved in the movement. There is a dearth of material analyzing Carlo Petrini’s aspirations for Slow Food, particularly in light of his desire within Slow Food Nation (2007) and Terra Madre (2010) to make “freewill giving a part of economic discourse.” This essay corrects the literature gap through historicizing and critiquing Petrini’s alternative to global capitalism while rooting it in actually existing practices. First, Petrini’s problematic conceptualization of freewill giving will be compared to feminist theorizations and documentations of the gift economy. Second, Petrini’s avoidance of the toxic mimic of the gift, its subsumption to capitalism, will be amended by discussing how the gifting of food aid and emergency food networks actually reproduces inequality, poverty, and hunger. Third, Petrini’s example of gifting by a Trappist Monastery will be juxtaposed to the ongoing direct action strategies of Food Not Bombs, a much stronger example of an oppositional gift economy, one that is subsequently repressed by the state. In doing so, this essay seeks to expand discussion of the gift economy within the alternative food movement while amending many of the theoretical, historical, and political problems embedded within Petrini’s work, which performs a strong disservice to the politics of possibility embedded within gifting.

Keywords

Slow Food Alternative food movements Gift economy Subsistence perspective Feminism Food Not Bombs 

References

  1. Abrahams, Y. 2007. The Khoekhoe free economy: A model for the gift. In Women and the gift economy: A radically different worldview is possible, ed. G. Vaughan, 217–221. Toronto: Inanna Publications and Education.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, G. 2008. The slow food story: Politics and pleasure. Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Armstrong, J. 2007. Indigenous knowledge and gift giving: Living in community, In ed. Vaughan, G., 41–49. Canada: Inanna Publications and Education.Google Scholar
  4. Bennholdt-Thomsen, V., and M. Mies. 1999. The subsistence perspective: Beyond the globalized economy. New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  5. Bennholdt-Thomsen, V., N. Faraclas, and C. Von Werlhof. 2001. There is an alternative: Subsistence and worldwide resistance to corporate globalization. New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  6. Breines, W. 1989. Community and organization in the New Left, 1962–1968: The great refusal. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Chrzan, J. 2004. Slow food: What, why, and to where? Food, Culture and Society 7(2): 117–132.Google Scholar
  8. Dalla Costa, G.F. 2008. The work of love. Brooklyn: Automedia.Google Scholar
  9. Donati, K. 2005. The pleasure of diversity in slow food’s ethics of taste. Food, Culture and Society 8(2): 227–242.Google Scholar
  10. Friedmann, H. 1982. The political economy of food: The rise and fall of the postwar international food order. American Journal of Sociology 88: S248–S286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gibson-Graham, J.K. [1996] 2006. The end of capitalism (as we knew it): A feminist critique of political economy. Minneapolis: University Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  12. Jensen, D. 2006. Endgame, volume I: The problem of civilization. New York: Seven Stories Press.Google Scholar
  13. Jones, P., P. Shears, D. Hillier, D. Comfort, and J. Lowell. 2003. Return to traditional values? A case study of Slow Food. British Food Journal 105(4/5): 297–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kuokkanen, R.J. 2007a. Reshaping the university: Responsibility, indigenous epistemes and the logic of the gift. Vancouver: University of British Colombia Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kuokkanen, R.J. 2007b. The gift logic of indigenous philosophies in the academy. In Women and the gift economy: A radically different worldview is possible, ed. G. Vaughan, 71–83. Toronto: Inanna Publications and Education.Google Scholar
  16. Laudan, R. 2000. A world of inauthentic cuisine. In Proceedings, 1999 meetings Cultural and Historical Aspects of Food. Corvallis, Oregon. http://food.oregonstate.edu/ref/culture/laudan.html. Accessed 20 Feb 2011.
  17. Laudan, R. 2001. A plea for culinary modernism: Why we should love new, fast, processed food. Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 1(1): 36–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Laudan, R. 2004. Slow Food: The French terroir strategy, and culinary modernism: An essay review of Carlos Petrini, slow food. Food, Culture and Society 7(2): 133–149.Google Scholar
  19. Lotti, A. 2010. The commoditization of products and taste: Slow Food and the conservation of agrobiodiversity. Agriculture and Human Values 27: 71–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mann, B.A. 2000. Iroquoian women: The Gantowisas. London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  21. McHenry, K. 2012. Hungry for peace: How you can help end poverty and war with food not bombs. Tucson: See Sharp Press.Google Scholar
  22. McMichael, P. 2007. Development and social change: A global perspective, 4th ed. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  23. Miele, M., and J. Murdoch. 2002. The practical aesthetics of traditional cuisines: Slow food in Tuscany. Sociologia Ruralis 42(4): 312–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mies, M. [1986] 1998. Patriarchy and accumulation on a world scale. New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  25. Mies, M., and V. Shiva. 1993. Ecofeminism. New Jersey: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  26. Mies, M., V. Bennholdt-Thomsen, and C. Von Werlhof. 1988. Women: The last colony. New Jersey: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  27. Nosi, C., and L. Zanni. 2004. Moving from “typical products” to “food related services”: The Slow Food case as a new business paradigm. British Food Journal 106(10/11): 779–792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Petrini, C. 2001. Slow Food: The case for taste. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Petrini, C. 2007. Slow food nation. New York: Rizzoli Ex Libris.Google Scholar
  30. Petrini, C. 2010. Terra Madre: Forging a new global network of sustainable food communities. White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  31. Pietrykowski, B. 2004. You are what you eat: The social economy of the slow food movement. Review of Social Economy 62(3): 307–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Poppendieck, J. 1985. Breadlines knee deep in wheat: Food assistance in the Great Depression. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Poppendieck, J. 1999. Sweet charity? Emergency food and the end of entitlement. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  34. Poppendieck, J. 2011. Free for all: Fixing school food in America. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  35. Vaughan, G. 1997. For-giving: A feminist critique of exchange. Austin: Plain View Press.Google Scholar
  36. Vaughan, G. 2007a. Women and the gift economy: A radically different worldview is possible. Toronto: Inanna Publications and Education.Google Scholar
  37. Vaughan, G. 2007b. Introduction: A radically different worldview is possible. In Women and the gift economy: A radically different worldview is possible, ed. G. Vaughan, 1–38. Toronto: Inanna Publications and Education.Google Scholar
  38. Vaughan, G. 2007c. Heterosexism and the norm of normativity. In Women and the gift economy: A radically different worldview is possible, ed. G. Vaughan, 199–214. Toronto: Inanna Publications and Education.Google Scholar
  39. Weber, M. 1948. Politics as a Vocation. In From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, ed. H.H. Gerth, and C.W. Mills, 77–128. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Sociology, The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations