Making privilege palatable: Normative sustainability in chefs' Instagram discourse

Gwynne Mapes, Andrew S. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we consider the discursive production of status as it relates to democratic ideals of environmental equity and community responsibility, orienting specifically to food discourse and 'elite authenticity' (Mapes 2018), as well as to recent work concerning normativity and class inequality (e.g. Thurlow 2016; Hall, Levon, & Milani 2019). Utilizing a dataset comprised of 150 Instagram posts, drawn from three different acclaimed chefs' personal accounts, we examine the ways in which these celebrities emphasize local/sustainable food practices while simultaneously asserting their claims to privileged eating. Using multimodal critical discourse analysis, we document three general discursive tactics: (i) plant-based emphasis, (ii) local/community terroir, and (iii) realities of meat consumption. Ultimately, we establish how the chefs' claims to egalitarian/environmental ideals paradoxically diminish their eliteness, while simultaneously elevating their social prestige, pointing to the often complicated and covert ways in which class inequality permeates the social landscape of contemporary eating. (Food discourse, elite authenticity, normativity, social class, locality/sustainability).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-283
Number of pages25
JournalLanguage in Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Making privilege palatable: Normative sustainability in chefs' Instagram discourse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this