Gardening cyberspace - hybrid spaces and social media in the creation of food citizenship in the Bristol city-region, UK

Reed, Matt and Keech, Daniel (2017) Gardening cyberspace - hybrid spaces and social media in the creation of food citizenship in the Bristol city-region, UK. Landscape Research. pp. 1-12. ISSN 0142-6397 (In Press)

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Abstract

Recent research by Castells has highlighted the important role of the Internet in creating the movements that have taken control of symbolic spaces in the city. He argues that hybrid spaces - linking urban space to the Internet - have created conditions of ‘relentless interaction’ that have fostered ‘instant communities of transformative practice’ (Castells 2012:11). This has coincided with a renewed interest in the city as a food producing area, and various programmes for the re-imagining of the cityscape, with suggestions ranging for vertical farms and engineering solutions through to community based brown field sites. In this paper we consider a range of social media engaged in this new contest: those networks creating, and eating from, short food chains in the Bristol city-region. Bristol is the site of a range of projects that are aiming to change the role of food in the cityscape either through changing the modalities of retailing, linking the city more directly to its peri-urban fringe, or increasing participation or shifting food production to more sustainable technologies. This is supported by a range of initiatives from local government, which is using its powers to foster better food outcomes through participative and deliberative interventions. Yet this is taking place against a backdrop of continued controversy, Bristol’s year of being ‘European Green Capital’ began with protestors being arrested as a garden site was cleared for a new bus route. These formal interventions are interwoven with networks of activists who are attempting to create change literally, and figuratively, ‘in the ground’ of the city. This paper examines the use of social media to co-ordinate, develop and nurture food projects in the Bristol city region, analysing Twitter feeds, blog entries and documents posted on the Internet to discern how citizenship is being constructed in these discussions. Many scholarly debates have focused on the transformative potential of citizen-consumers as portrayed in the media, but to date these have tended to focus on journalism rather than quotidian networks of social media and the way in which social change is created in these contexts.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: social media, urban agriculture, sociology, food, farming,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Matthew Reed
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 11:26
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2017 16:35
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3260

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