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The curation of the street food scene in London

Concha, Paz (2017) The curation of the street food scene in London. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.a3al3lgwkudo


This research is an ethnography about the curation of the street food scene in London that looks at processes of cultural calculation to make markets and to assemble marketplaces. The main research question that is guiding this thesis is how is the street food scene in London being curated? This inquiry follows previous research in cultural economies in different scenes of cultural production like advertising, fashion or music (Du Gay and Pryke, 2002; Slater, 2002a; Entwistle, 2006, 2009; McFall, 2002, 2009, 2013; Ariztía, 2015; Negus, 2002; Law, 2002; McRobbie, 2016; Arriagada, 2014; Arriagada and Cruz, 2014). I am focussing on the idea of curation as analytical vehicle to understand the work of cultural intermediaries (Bourdieu, 1984) as a process of value generation, in which they culturally calculate markets (Callon, 1998; Callon, Méadel and Rabeharisoa, 2002; Slater 2002a) and assemble marketplaces (Farías, 2010; McFarlane, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c) by putting together knowledge, people, objects, aesthetics and other materials that configure the scene. This ethnography focusses on the working practices of market organisers, particularly from a company that I will call EAT-LONDON and four food traders who work in these and other markets. Nine months of fieldwork were conducted, working at offices, markets and food stalls across London. Through this empirical work with actors in the street food scene, rich data was obtained with the purpose of analysing how markets are formed in cultural economies, and how markets create place. Curators are actors that shape the social using their embodied and social knowledge to separate businesses, audiences or places based on the distinction of this cultural scene (Johnston and Baumann, 2015; Naccarato and Lebesco, 2012; Cronin et. al., 2014). The practice of curation reveals how economic calculations are also configured by cultural distinctions and how place is assembled and emerging from multiple actors’ relationships and negotiations of value.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Paz Concha
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Slater, Don and Savage, Mike

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