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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

James L. Cherney


This dissertation explores the rhetorical construction of the local food movement through the narrative genre of the food exposé. On its face, local food appears to be a grassroots movement, and yet, through an analysis of the tropes used to describe and construct the movement, another story emerges – one intended for elite audiences. Using narrative critique, this project explores both the narratives of local food, as well as the deployment of that narrative into the material world and in the construction of particular identities. Ultimately, I argue that the narratives of local food give the impression that this way of eating and living is for everyone, while simultaneously entrenching an elite position that threatens the movement’s ability to forge identification with a wider audience. Thus, this dissertation highlights how considering narratives across texts reveals rhetorical inconsistencies that undermine both the rhetorical and material goals of the local food movement.

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