A Semiotic Approach to Food and Ethics in Everyday Life

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (4):813-825 (2013)
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The aim of this paper is to explore how food can be analyzed in terms of signs and codes of everyday life, and especially how food can be used to express ethical concerns. The paper investigates the potential of a semiotic conceptual analysis: How can the semiotic approach be used to analyze expressions of ethics and food ethics in everyday life? The intention is to explore from a theoretical point of view and with constructed cases, how semiotics can be used to analyze the role of food as an expression of ethics in everyday life among families, friends, and colleagues: How do foodstuffs function as signs of ethics in everyday life? How is food used to send signals about care and concern? How are the signs of food ethics perceived? It is concluded that analyzing ethical considerations with respect to food with the help of the semiotic model can show us perspectives that otherwise would be difficult to see and thus we can address everyday food ethical issues that otherwise might not be noted. The semiotic approach to food ethics in everyday life is a conceptual framework that can be used to draw attention to certain domains and fields of food ethical behavior that otherwise would tend to remain implicit and unspoken



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