Towards a cultural sociology of the toaster 

How does what we eat shape how we are seen? Cultural sociologists have long accepted the role which culinary consumption plays in reproducing status hierarchies. However the meal of breakfast and the role of devices have been conspicuously absent from these debates, leaving us with a misleading view of how people eat and the social meanings assigned to it.

This conference takes the toaster as a case study, examining the characteristics of these devices through a sociological lens. What do recent features like carcinogenic-negation and nuclear-power tell us about the meal of breakfast and the meaning ascribed to it in late capitalism? Bringing together leading cultural sociologists from around the world, it promises a transformed understanding of culinary consumption liable to influence practice within sociology and beyond.

Through two vibrant days of lectures, panels and workshops, we will turn a critical light on breakfast and the technical infrastructure upon which it relies. Bursaries will be provided for graduate students and precariously employed scholars, ensuring a diverse range of participants in our discussion. Breakfast will of course be included in the conference registration fee.

I’m at a copy writing workshop and this was my academic spin on being asked to write advertising copy for a new toaster which is nuclear powered and produces unburnable toast. This event isn’t actually taking place, though I must admit I’d happily listen to a podcast or two from it. 

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