Citizenship and belonging: initial idea

The new assignment falls under the heading, ‘Citizenship and belonging’ and after a plethora of ideas and a couple of false starts I think I have an idea, or at least the beginnings of one.

The idea is to look at imagery of foods in Britain that have been used to uphold ideas of ‘Britishness’; food, identity and belonging being some of my key research interests. I would probably start by approaching this from a historical perspective. A good example is the print below, by James Gillray, showing William Pitt the Younger (British Prime Minister 1783 – 1801 and 1804 – 1806) dividing up the world with Napoleon, the world represented by the plum pudding.

The plumb pudding in danger; or State Epicures taking un Petit Souper.

The plumb pudding in danger; or State Epicures taking un Petit Souper. James Gillray, 1805

This though isn’t so much about food, but representations of food that denote ideas of nationhood. My nascent idea would be to identify a few images (satirical cartoons, adverts, photographs etc.) and show them to different target groups.

The aim would be to get their opinions on what the images show, mean and represent. I won’t label the images or give them any extraneous information, as this may skew the feedback. It’s likely that the images presented will initiate a conversation on food, memory and identity – I have found from my teaching experience that this type of (elicitation) exercise with the requisite questions tends to generate a fair amount of discussion, and will approach community groups in order to carry out my research.

I haven’t got any further ideas at present.


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