The Temporality of Food Innovation
Food is very much a temporal phenomenon. It is contemporary, in the sense of being a sign of the times, of culture, economy and politics, of current practices and beliefs. At the same time, it is rooted in the past, which may be a near or distant past of recently invented or deep-seated traditions. And it is oriented towards the future, as on-going patterns of creation and consumption and the environmental challenges these pose for society. The temporalities of food are embedded with organized societal actors such as consumer movements, entrepreneur networks, large companies, and public institutions with their own distinctive near and distant pasts and futures. For example, it matters how these organizations bring forward practice from a distant past, such as ancient recipes, and how they mobilize or are mobilised by other actors to create new possibilities for the different future. It matters also how actors enact the long-term future with concerns for health and the environment, while balancing these with short-term pressures for results, profits or market shares. Therefore, the temporality of food is entangled with the temporality of the various organizations involved in creating, processing, consuming, or regulating food. The proposed program aims to investigate through a temporal lens how organizational actors at various levels of society take part in innovating or sustaining practices in the food sector. It will address the question: How do certain food practices and discourses develop in the interaction of different organizations to shape the future of food? The project team will carry out a multi-level analysis of the food sector, targeting the levels of practice, organizations, movements and public institutions. A temporal perspective is expected to achieve two purposes. First, to contribute to the field of management and organization studies by providing richer and more robust theoretical frameworks of temporality by drawing on and connecting multi-level data from studying the food sector. Second, to contribute knowledge about culture and society by unravelling the temporal dynamics of food and organizations.