Cosmopolitanism in ethnic foodscapes
A geosemiotic, social literacies view of restaurants in Bloomington, Indiana
This paper opens up a perspective for viewing the effect of globalization on ethnic restaurants in a college town, Bloomington, at Indiana, in the US. While existing scholarship on shop signs were focused on interpreting signages that are mostly visible from the exterior (e.g. Collins & Slembrouck, 2007; Malinowski, 2009; Ong, Ghesquière, & Serwe, 2013), this study examines publicly displayed material artefacts, and the dialogical relationship between customers and waiters, taking into account one aspect of Scollon and Scollon’s (2003) perceptual space which is highly visible in a restaurant: tastes. Through interviews, participant observations and geosemiotic analysis of signs inside and on the exterior of restaurants, I evinced a configuration of semiotic aggregates (Scollon & Scollon, 2003) drawing from my ethnographic work on ethnic foodscapes. Findings from the study suggest that multiple social actors contributed to shaping cosmopolitanism in a college town.
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