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'Something different for the weekend' - alterity, performance, routine and proficiency at farmers' markets in the northeast of England

By Keith Spiller


The focus of this chapter is the role of alterity and performance in buying food at farmers’ markets. Alterity is the context in which farmers’ markets are readily understood and situated (Spiller 2007; Youngs 2003); buying at a market is different to buying at, for instance, a supermarket, and as Hetherington (1997) might suggest, farmers’ markets appropriate a heterotopic space where a marginal force implies ideals - however temporary or ephemeral that space maybe . Nevertheless, as I argue, as performances become routine, the proficiency of such actions render them normal. In contrast to what were once reactionary or alternative sites to developments and incidences in farming and food in the UK today, the farmers’ markets may now have become normalized or to some extent non-alternative. A focus of this chapter is the corporeality at the markets, which encourages performances during the event of buying, selling or just being at a farmers’ market. Performance and its delivery is distinctly corporeal and linguistic in projecting the meanings and understandings that litter everyday life, and intrinsically performance is inescapable from identity, as every interaction and action between actors incorporates degrees of performance. When producers and consumers meet at the markets, the performances take on the guise of difference, in that the markets awaken carnivalesque connotations, because inherently the markets are not everyday, or are not supermarkets

Publisher: Ashgate
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:oro.open.ac.uk:19074
Provided by: Open Research Online

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