Rhetoric of ‘Buy Irish Food’ campaigns: speaking to consumer values to valorise the ‘local’ and exclude ‘others’?
Drives to (re-)localise the system of food provisioning have arisen and proliferated in recent times, chiefly in response to the negative consequences of the prevailing global food system. Due to this, but also since Ireland has begun to experience economic difficulties, many ‘Buy Irish Food’ campaigns have emerged and although not a new phenomenon, their recent (re-)emergence and abundance are notable. Drawing on discourses of sustainability, sustainable consumption and geographical scales, this paper aims to critically analyse the nature of these campaigns and the persuasive arguments upon which these promotions are based. Following a review of the literature on values of consumers in Ireland towards Irish and local food, a thematic analysis is employed to determine the key rhetorical discourses which are common to three case study ‘Buy Irish Food’ campaigns. The research revealed instances of conflating ‘Irish’ and ‘local’ by consumers and more commonly by those involved in the promotion of Irish food, in addition to a reliance on local food rhetoric and spatial valorisation to the detriment of ‘others’. Drawing on these findings, the paper concludes by proffering a future research agenda, which highlights the need to investigate the effects of such exclusions as well as a need for comparative research to potentially consider the Irish case study in the context of patriotic purchasing rhetoric from places considered to be geographically similar to Ireland.
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