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Publications (10 of 13) Show all publications
Machin, D. & Chen, A. (2023). Designing food packaging to present healthy and ethical diets to the New Chinese middle classes. Food, Culture, and Society: an international journal of multidisciplinary research, 26(1), 79-101
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing food packaging to present healthy and ethical diets to the New Chinese middle classes
2023 (English)In: Food, Culture, and Society: an international journal of multidisciplinary research, ISSN 1552-8014, E-ISSN 1751-7443, Vol. 26, no 1, p. 79-101Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

'Healthy' and 'ethical' food is one of the fastest-growing food trends around the world. Yet scholars in this journal have shown that what this means in many territories tends to be dominated by Western-centric concepts. They call for the need to decenter the dominant Euro-American and Anglo-centric food scholarship in order to throw light on these processes. To better understand food globalization, one must consider how regional history, culture, economics, and politics foster a complex dynamic of global-local and West-East flows. Aligning with these concerns, we analyze food packages from China marketed at a rapidly growing health and ethical food market. Using an in-depth qualitative method, Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis, we examine the discursive and material power of healthy and ethical food products as these are communicated through packaging designs, showing how these carry ideas, value, and identities. We explore how this might be understood in the context of where such designs target an emerging Chinese middle class, concerned about food integrity, but also who seek out distinction and modern cosmopolitanism. We ask how the ideas carried by the packages might shape and steer local understandings of healthy and ethical food.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
Food globalization, food packaging, Chinese middle class, multimodality, social semiotics
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-94902 (URN)10.1080/15528014.2021.1981592 (DOI)000702694500001 ()2-s2.0-85116349088 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-10-13 Created: 2021-10-13 Last updated: 2023-06-22Bibliographically approved
Chen, A. & Eriksson, G. (2022). Connoting a neoliberal and entrepreneurial discourse of science through infographics and integrated design: the case of ‘functional’ healthy drinks. Critical Discourse Studies, 19(3), 290-308
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Connoting a neoliberal and entrepreneurial discourse of science through infographics and integrated design: the case of ‘functional’ healthy drinks
2022 (English)In: Critical Discourse Studies, ISSN 1740-5904, E-ISSN 1740-5912, Vol. 19, no 3, p. 290-308Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Riding on the rising concern of public health and the growing neoliberal self-care agenda, the food market has witnessed a surge in ‘healthy’ food despite the criticism of this food does not help consumers eat more healthily. A growing interest in CriticalDiscourse Studies (CDS) is how food marketers colonise not only the food discourse but also the broader ideas and values such as health, politics, and environment. Contributing to this growing body of research, we look at one of the fastest-growing food trends, ‘functional drinks’, which claim to target physiological and psychological processes in the body, so that consumers can manage their health and performance. Company websites rely on forms of infographics to communicate how the products work. Adopting the notion of ‘integrated design’ from multimodal CDS, we show how these infographics, drawing on their affordancesare particularly useful in symbolising classifications and causalities which could not be accounted for in running texts. The paper argues that this is a way health and science converge with a neoliberal discourse of self-management and enterprise culture. Given the increased use of forms of integrated design incommunication, more critical discursive work is needed in this area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022
Keywords
Critical discourse analysis, Multimodality, integrated design, infographics, affordance, Recontextualisation, science communication, neoliberalism, functional food
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-88835 (URN)10.1080/17405904.2021.1874450 (DOI)000608905900001 ()2-s2.0-85099715333 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-01-22 Created: 2021-01-22 Last updated: 2022-08-24Bibliographically approved
Bouvier, G. & Chen, A. (2021). The gendering of healthy diets: a multimodal discourse study of food packages marketed at men and women. Gender and Language, 15(3), 347-368
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The gendering of healthy diets: a multimodal discourse study of food packages marketed at men and women
2021 (English)In: Gender and Language, ISSN 1747-6321, E-ISSN 1747-633X, Vol. 15, no 3, p. 347-368Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Gendered identities are communicated in places as frequent and ordinary as food packaging, becoming mundane features of everyday life as they sit on supermarket shelves, in cupboards and on office desks. Multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) allows us to investigate how such identities are buried in packaging in relation to health and fitness. Despite observed broader changes in gendered representations of the body in advertising, in particular relating to the arrival of 'power femininity', the products analysed in this article are found to carry fairly traditional and prototypical gender representations, and products marketed at both men and women highlight the need for more precise body management. For women, however, this precision is related to managing the demands of everyday life, packaged as a moral imperative to be healthy, responsible and successful.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Equinox Publishing, 2021
Keywords
multimodality, critical discourse analysis, food packaging, healthy diet, gender
National Category
Gender Studies Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-96503 (URN)10.1558/genl.18825 (DOI)000738428100006 ()2-s2.0-85116398102 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-01-17 Created: 2022-01-17 Last updated: 2022-01-17Bibliographically approved
Bouvier, G. & Chen, A. (2021). Women and fitness on Weibo: the neoliberalism solution to the obligations of Confucianism. Social Semiotics, 31(3), 440-465
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women and fitness on Weibo: the neoliberalism solution to the obligations of Confucianism
2021 (English)In: Social Semiotics, ISSN 1035-0330, E-ISSN 1470-1219, Vol. 31, no 3, p. 440-465Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper uses a social semiotic approach to analyse the posts of women fitness experts/influencers on Chinese Weibo. On the posts, we find a harmonized world where all parts of life can be managed by making the right choices and by having a striving attitude. Here, success and happiness become tasks to be worked on. Yet this is a decontextualized world, where there is no room for actual situations and dispositions. We discuss how these representations can be related to rising neoliberal ideas, values, and identities among the new Chinese middle classes, which, in these instances, are used to create a rather overdetermined stance against more traditional Confucian women's roles with an emphasis on caring, knowing one's position, and kinship obligations. But the one-size-fits-all rhetoric of empowerment, getting-ahead and choice leaves little room for sharing the actual restrictions, conflicts, and struggles faced by these women.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2021
Keywords
Fitness, influencers, Weibo, neoliberalism, discourse analysis, multimodal
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-93271 (URN)10.1080/10350330.2021.1930849 (DOI)000661283100006 ()2-s2.0-85107840813 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-07-28 Created: 2021-07-28 Last updated: 2021-07-28Bibliographically approved
Chen, A. & Machin, D. (2020). Case Study: How Magazines Carry Western Consumer Values Around the World: The Chinese Women's Lifestyle Magazine Rayli and its Representation of Healthy Diets. In: Miglena Sternadori, Tim Holmes (Ed.), The Handbook of Magazine Studies: (pp. 248-260). John Wiley & Sons
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Case Study: How Magazines Carry Western Consumer Values Around the World: The Chinese Women's Lifestyle Magazine Rayli and its Representation of Healthy Diets
2020 (English)In: The Handbook of Magazine Studies / [ed] Miglena Sternadori, Tim Holmes, John Wiley & Sons, 2020, p. 248-260Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2020
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-88810 (URN)10.1002/9781119168102.ch19 (DOI)9781119151524 (ISBN)9781119168102 (ISBN)
Available from: 2021-01-21 Created: 2021-01-21 Last updated: 2021-01-29Bibliographically approved
Chen, A. & Eriksson, G. (2019). The making of healthy and moral snacks: A multimodal critical discourse analysis of corporate storytelling. Discourse, Context & Media, 32, Article ID 100347.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The making of healthy and moral snacks: A multimodal critical discourse analysis of corporate storytelling
2019 (English)In: Discourse, Context & Media, ISSN 2211-6958, E-ISSN 2211-6966, Vol. 32, article id 100347Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines how snack brands represent themselves as producers of healthy food through corporatestories on their websites. The increased emphasis on health in ‘‘the new public health era” has createda market for products promoted as healthy or with some kind of wellbeing association. Riding onthis trend, many companies have emerged and positioned themselves as providing good food options.Employing the theory of social semiotics and using multimodal critical discourse analysis, we ask the following questions: How do these companies use corporate stories to make themselves appear as a better alternative than their competitors? How do they make their products appear healthy and attractive to consumers? And how can this kind of marketing help consumers choose healthier products? The analysis of 22 corporate stories of healthy snack companies shows that healthy eating is colonized by a moral discourse for marketing and branding purposes. Furthermore, the health qualities these companies claim to have are abstract, symbolic, and commercialized. We argue that these corporate stories provide no meaningful indication as to the healthiness of these products and can mislead consumers to consume less healthy food while having the intention to eat healthily.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019
Keywords
Discourse, Multimodal critical discourse analysis, Social semiotics, Healthy diet, Healthy snacks, Corporate stories, Storytelling
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-77803 (URN)10.1016/j.dcm.2019.100347 (DOI)000501415900010 ()2-s2.0-85074144660 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-11-10 Created: 2019-11-10 Last updated: 2020-01-14Bibliographically approved
Chen, A. & Eriksson, G. (2019). The mythologization of protein: a Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of snacks packaging. Food, Culture, and Society: an international journal of multidisciplinary research, 22(4), 423-445
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The mythologization of protein: a Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of snacks packaging
2019 (English)In: Food, Culture, and Society: an international journal of multidisciplinary research, ISSN 1552-8014, E-ISSN 1751-7443, Vol. 22, no 4, p. 423-445Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines how protein snacks are marketed as good food choices through their packaging and how these packages reproduce a discourse – what we see as a myth – of the benefits of high protein intake. Research shows that consumers believe high protein food has a positive impact on physical performance and body composition, although there is very little evidence of this. Protein foods and beverages are nevertheless one of the fastest growing sectors in the food market and we now see food companies exploit peoples beliefs by adding protein to food that was formerly seen as unhealthy. Adopting a Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) we look in detail at the packaging of a group of snacks that are usually high in fat and sugar but now appear as good food options, particularly through accentuating the protein content. The analysis shows that the packages market these products as an outcome of scientific modern technology, but this is done in playful and comforting ways. This goes along with neoliberal ideas about wellness and demands of an active lifestyle. From these findings, we discuss the limitations of existing regulations as marketing shape and capitalize on discourses of health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Discourse, food packaging, food policy, health, protein, marketing, Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Semiotics
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-74776 (URN)10.1080/15528014.2019.1620586 (DOI)000478852800004 ()2-s2.0-85067458696 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-06-24 Created: 2019-06-24 Last updated: 2020-02-26Bibliographically approved
Chen, A. & Eriksson, G. (2019). “With Great Taste Comes Great Responsibility”: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of corporate storytelling. In: : . Paper presented at A-MODE International Conference - Approaches to Multimodal Digital Environments: from theories to practices, Rome, Italy, June 20-22, 2019.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“With Great Taste Comes Great Responsibility”: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of corporate storytelling
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-74811 (URN)
Conference
A-MODE International Conference - Approaches to Multimodal Digital Environments: from theories to practices, Rome, Italy, June 20-22, 2019
Available from: 2019-06-26 Created: 2019-06-26 Last updated: 2019-09-20Bibliographically approved
Eriksson, G. & Chen, A. (2018). Protein = Healthy?: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of protein snacks packaging. In: : . Paper presented at The 1st Biannual Conference on Food and Communication, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, September 6-7, 2018.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Protein = Healthy?: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of protein snacks packaging
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we examine how protein snacks are marketed as a healthy choice through their packaging and discuss the cultural meanings of protein that are communicated to consumers via packaging. With the rise of obesity and chronic disease, the EU and many member national governments are promoting healthy diet as the solution to this public health challenge. The new wellness food industry is now a trillion dollarbusiness. Food companies are capitalising on this via reformulating products to appear healthier. One common strategy is adding protein to food that wasformerly seen as unhealthy. This is in line with research that has found that consumers believe high protein food has a positive impact on physical performance, body composition, and weight control. It has been discussed that in the West the modern healthy food discourse has become not being healthy perse but instead linked to multiple possibilities of cultural meaning. What has not yet been carefully explored is how ideas of healthy eating and its cultural meaning are embedded in food packaging. Adopting Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) we look at the packaging of a group of snacks that are usually high in fat and sugar that have been reformulated to enhance their protein content and thereby appear to be healthy food options. We argue that the kind of healthy food messages this packaging creates is often confusing and misleading. The discourse favours profit-driven marketers and might have a negative impact on public health.

Keywords
Social Semiotics, Food packaging, Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis, Discourse, Health
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-70835 (URN)
Conference
The 1st Biannual Conference on Food and Communication, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, September 6-7, 2018
Available from: 2018-12-20 Created: 2018-12-20 Last updated: 2019-09-20Bibliographically approved
Chen, A. (2015). Changing visual representations and visual designs in Chinese women’s lifestyle magazine: The path to consumerism and new female identity. In: : . Paper presented at Annual Conference of UK-CHINA media and cultural Studies Association (UCMeCSA) - Chinese Media and Cultural Studies: Consumption, Content and Crisis, Cardiff, UK, February 6, 2015.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changing visual representations and visual designs in Chinese women’s lifestyle magazine: The path to consumerism and new female identity
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-74810 (URN)
Conference
Annual Conference of UK-CHINA media and cultural Studies Association (UCMeCSA) - Chinese Media and Cultural Studies: Consumption, Content and Crisis, Cardiff, UK, February 6, 2015
Available from: 2019-06-26 Created: 2019-06-26 Last updated: 2019-07-03Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-2394-9959

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