Wednesday, 5 November 2014, 3pm
CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33
Politics of food-networking: Dieting for better food futures
This study is concerned with the computer mediated food experiences and their role within the phenomenon of political food consumption – a strategy of expressing individual sociopolitical beliefs through a deliberate simplification of eating habits. The focus of the study is put on the ways, how has this strategy changed along with the proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICT), particularly those enabling social networking. One of the popular topics that has recently started to be discussed within the online global network is food and various recommendations on eating and shopping options or sustainable eating practices. I am concerned primarily with those online food-related encounters performed by political consumers, whose food choices are largely motivated by the uneven practices of global food industry, such as over-production, excessive volume of food export and the consequential trend of food wasting. Adopters of this mindful ethos are for instance vegetarians and vegans, locavore and low carbon dieters, or the more extreme freegans. There already exist a wide range of social networking services designed to facilitate the specific food ways of those consumers, while enabling them to share both food recommendations or food items per se (e.g. Buycott, Dumpster map, Leftover swap, Mundraub). My research will focus on the position of those services within the daily practice of political consumers, and the possible implications of this “food-networking” strategy for the refinement of global food agenda. I argue that even if the lifestyle of political consumers may be seen as individualistic or even escapist, with the support of networking technologies, it is likely to exert a greater social influence.
Ashwini Arvind Falnikar
Civic engagement in the age of new media in India
In a country as diverse as India, numerous forms of civic engagement exist. These existing participatory discourses have further multiplied with new media technologies becoming increasingly available to various populations. In this talk, I share my critical understanding of present modes of engagement in the political and cultural sphere in India. The study will be a comparative study of two distinct groups of populations having different levels of access to new media technologies. A possible entry point into this topic would be public art/public expression in the cityscapes of urban India and on virtual platforms.
Iris Wang Yang
Multi-lifing through computer-mediated communications: Transnational identity negotiation and relationship management of Chinese “study mothers” in Singapore
“Study mothers” (peidu mama) refer to mothers who accompany their preteen or teenage children to pursue long-term overseas education, while leaving their husbands and other family members behind in the home country. Besides playing the primary role of being “dedicated mothers”, they are simultaneously “unavailable spouses”, “unwelcome foreigners”, and “reluctant workers”, and thus have to constantly shuttle between multiple and overlapping identities. This research focuses on Chinese study mothers in Singapore, and seeks to investigate the role of computer-mediated communications (CMC) in their identity negotiation and relationship management. Specifically, the research will probe into study mothers’ motives and habits of using various communication platforms, the influences of CMC on their multiple identities, and their strategies in reinforcing transnational family ties and developing instrumental social networks. I shall employ in-depth interviews, media diaries and virtual ethnography to explore these questions.
Gui Kai Chong
News consumption in Singapore: A study of Singaporean citizens as audiences
This study is about the meaning of news consumption in Singapore. It adopts a qualitative approach to researching citizens as audiences and uses in-depth interviews to explore the role that news consumption plays in the everyday lives of Singaporeans. Drawing on the literature on audience studies, media anthropology, journalism studies, and political communication, the study focuses on how “media consumption” practices and habits as well as orientations towards the news are related to citizens’ sense of public connection. The study attends to both cases of strong connection and cases of weak connection, and contextualizes these in a way that takes the situated and ambivalent nature of news consumption seriously.