The Luminosity of the Local

Michael Donovan

This paper seeks to capture the local in Locavore---both its concrete and symbolic character. Locavore itself is a kind of nascent identity that emerges from constellations of social relationships, self-defining “food communities”, made up of consumers and farmers and chefs, and food writers and environmentalists of various stripes. These communities live in the blogosphere, tweets and other media as well as face-to-face relationships and transactions. At their core are representations of the local—in foods, dishes, recipes, meals, places, and persons. Place-bound identities that in some theoretically interesting ways transcend place. Drawing on classical anthropological theory and recent studies in cultural geography and the formation of digital communities we explore ways in which the local is invented and given representational power in the creation of community. Implications for branding, marketing and understanding the continued power of place-bound identities in the very constitution of digitized and globalized worlds.