“YES TO POLENTA, NO TO COUSCOUS!: Constructed Identities and Contested Boundaries Between Local and Global in Northern Italy’s Gastronomic Landscape”
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This thesis examines the underlying assumptions of two small but influential movements in Northern Italy: the conservative political party called the Northern League and the Slow Food movement. They Lega Nord and the Slow Food movement have both revealed their own ethno-regionalist and “authentic” claims to Italian identity. These claims have produced an intersection between the notions of place, cuisine, and identity in a way that fundamentally excludes foreign immigrants. This thesis incorporates a significant literature review of secondary sources in order to situate it within the relevant scholarship about the topic. My argument is constructed by analyzing data collected by employing ethnographic field methods during a research trip to Piedmont, Northern Italy in August and September of 2009. Additionally, my data analysis incorporates primary source interviews from Italian news publications and official publications from the Slow Food movement, which I read as primary sources.